The results show genetic resistance to methicillin and sulfa drugs in the Pennsylvania water supply.
Abby Robinson, a participant in the Institute for Scientific Research and sophomore student at Conrad Weiser High School, was named a US finalist in the GENIUS Olympiad for her research on antibiotic-resistant genes in the Watershed of the Schuylkill River.
For his project, “The occurrence of antibiotic resistant genes in the Schuylkill watershed,” Robinson tested water samples in a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). After several tries, she discovered that 80% of his samples had methicillin resistant genes, and 20% of the samples had sulfonamide resistant genes.
“Methicillin resistance was not that surprising due to the accumulated resistance to methicillin (MRSA) which has been accelerating for many years, ”said Robinson. “However, resistance to sulfonylurea was very surprising, and also quite worrying, as the sulfonamide is widely used in the medical field to treat a number of bacterial infections.
the GENIE Olympiad is an international high school competition normally detained in person in New York. This year, students submitted 2,481 projects from 85 countries, with 65% of total submissions coming from outside the United States. The awards ceremony will air on June 12 at 10:30 a.m. EST on the GENIUS Olympiad YouTube channel.
A member of Scientific research institute‘s Schuylkill Watershed Research Team, Robinson visited the Hamburg reservoir and wastewater treatment plant in early March, looking for new ideas to improve water quality for homes and environment. The 14 students of the team are from Berks Catholic, Conrad Weiser, Gov. Mifflin, Hamburg, Reading and Wyomissing High Schools, and are led by SRI and Albright College instructors working in conjunction with Albright’s Center of excellence in local government, Berks County Conservation District, Berks County Water and Sewer Association, and Berks Nature.
With the results of this experiment, Robinson is now exploring why these resistant genes are present in Pennsylvania’s water sources.
“I hope to test the Schuylkill watershed for a variety of more antibiotic resistant genes in the near future; I specifically want to test for resistance to amoxicillin and ciprofloxacin due to their widespread use in the medical field, ”said Robinson.
Through the Scientific research institute (SRI), students in Grades 5 to 12 learn to function in a high-level scientific research setting while preparing for college and university research. Elite program nurtures students as they create self-directed research projects in biomedical, genetic, environmental, agricultural, biotechnological and materials sciences. Students can also explore dance, art, music, humanities, culinary arts, and fashion through Albright SRI projects. Nine SRI high school students completed patent applications prior to graduation.
“Brain science and neurology tell us that brains are most creative between grades five and ten,” said Albright College SRI Director, Adelle L. Schade. “SRI is focused on supporting creativity during this critical period, in the name of innovation. Successfully supporting creativity at this age can mean results that change society.
Founded in 1856, Albright College is a diverse community of learners who cultivate integrity, curiosity, connection and resilience. The college’s flexible curriculum encourages students to combine and cross-breed majors to create individualized academic programs. Close faculty mentoring and the many experiential learning options create opportunities for Albright graduates to exceed their own expectations. Located in Reading, PA, Albright has more than 1,800 full-time undergraduate students and 700 adult learners and graduate students.