Conducting Research in the CBFG II: Video Transcript

Jennifer Gaddy [PhD candidate, Microbiology]: My name is Jennifer Gaddy and I'm a fifth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Microbiology and my research project deals with working on a bacterium that causes pneumonia in soldiers returning from Iraq … and also wound infections in soldiers returning from Iraq and immunocompromised people. And, so, basically what we're looking at are the genes and gene products that are involved in making the bacteria adhere to surfaces such as lung epithelial cells and also plastics — intubation tubes, patient's charts, things like that. So what we work on is trying to knock out genes that are in the bacterium that are involved in making the bacterium sticky and then seeing what sorts of mutants that we can make that don't have the sticky phenotype. And then we try to sequence the genes that we've interrupted and that's when we use this facility a lot — to determine the genes that are found in the bacterium that are involved in this adherence.

Ben Philip [PhD candidate, Zoology]: My name is Ben Philip. I'm a third-year Ph.D. student in the Zoology Department and I work in Rick Lee's lab. Our lab focuses on how turtles, frogs, and insects tolerate environmental stresses like freezing, dessication, dehydration. So my focus here in the lab is to look at some proteins that play an important role in that tolerance of stress.

George Copenhaver [senior Microbiology major]: I'm George Copenhaver. I'm a senior in microbiology and I'm currently working on a research project considering microbes that are becoming resistant to antibiotic treatment in hospital settings. So what we do is we target their metal uptake system … because microbes require iron in their metabolism. We administer an anti-microbial metal such as gallium and the microbes will take up the gallium but it will not be used in the same way as the iron and will cause them pretty much to stop metabolising and die. In certain conditions that's very favorable because, in environments where iron is limiting, the microbes will prefer the gallium over the iron and end up killing themselves. It's very interesting and I'm very excited about the results because they can be used possibly for other microbes for immunocompromised patients that might be infected.

Andrew Hong [senior Microbiology major]: Hi. My name is Andrew Hong. I'm currently working with Dr. Hawes in this lab. I'm currently working on the random mutations of the enzyme that we're working on ... and we're using robotics in this lab to purify the enzyme and the whole purpose of doing this is to figure out the important functions of the enzyme.

Chika Nwugo, PhD [Postdoctoral Fellow, Microbiology]: Hi. My name is Chika and I'm a postdoctoral student here at Miami. I study proteins and how proteins change over time with treatments that you give to a cell … because most people don't know that DNA on its own cannot do anything unless it's converted to proteins … and it's the proteins that end up building the cell. And so I study how those proteins change over time and how we can learn from what proteins do in a cell.

[March 2009]