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Microbiology students to help in Yale's search for new antibiotics

August 14, 2013

Ann Buchmann Ann Buchmann

Dr. Ann Buchmann will be implementing techniques in her microbiology labs at Chadron State College which she learned at Yale University this summer through the Small World Initiative.

The initiative is a research-based laboratory class designed by Dr. Jo Handelsman’s laboratory and the Center for Scientific Teaching at Yale. 

CSC and 23 other pilot partners - colleges and universities - on the project attended a training session at Yale July 29 to Aug. 2 to learn techniques, exchange ideas, and develop individual courses that will be used at their institutions.  The course will involve the search for antibiotic-producing bacteria in soil samples.

Buchmann said, “We are looking for new antibiotics since more and more bacteria are becoming antibiotic resistant, and there have been very few new antibiotics discovered in the past ten years.  Most antibiotics that we use are derived from natural products that are produced by bacteria or fungi found in the soil.”

CSC students will search for new bacteria and will share their results with other students and faculty in partner schools.

“Eventually, this project will spread nationally and globally, hopefully producing new bacteria and new antibiotics.  Essentially, we are crowdsourcing antibiotic discovery to colleges and universities everywhere,” Buchmann said.

Colleague Dr. Joyce Hardy said, "Dr. Buchmann consistently seeks effective ways to meld theoretical knowledge and practical application in the teaching process. Her classes are challenging and engaging, stretching students to use common sense and critical thought processes.”

Hardy added that this project is an example of Buchmann’s advocacy for quality, rigorous instruction and evidence of her strong support of CSC students.

—Tena L. Cook, Interim Marketing Coordinator