Genetically Engineering a Plasmid to Develop a Live-Dead Reporter System in Mycolicibacterium smegmatis

Tuberculosis is a bacterial disease that kills over a million people around the world each year, in part because the bacteria rapidly evolve resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria face a variety of microenvironments during human infection, and these environments affect the evolution of antibiotic resistance in ways that are poorly understood. We will therefore use a related but non-pathogenic bacterial species to test the impact of environmental stressors on development of antibiotic resistance.

Faculty Mentor: Scarlet Shell | WPI (Biology & Biotechnology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology)

Teacher Component: The teacher will carry out experiments in the lab to address the broad question described above. In the process, they will learn state-of-the-art techniques in microbiology and molecular biology. The teacher and PI will also work together to develop a set of related experiments that the teacher can carry out with their students. These will be designed to be feasible with the resources available in a high school setting and to align with the curricular objectives of the target class.