Sunday, May 18, 2014

URSP Student Tayyaba Feroze Researches the Sterilization of Surfaces using Natural and Synthetic ATRA Peptides

My interest in research was first sparked when I got the opportunity to intern at Quest Diagnostics Laboratory. It was my first time being exposed to a laboratory environment where not only research was being conducted but also was used to develop diagnostics tests to detect diseases and pathogens with just a prick of blood and I instantly realized that I wanted to pursue my career in biomedical research! This internship broadened my commitment to pursue my vocation as a research scientist and encouraged me to apply for the Research Semester Program funded by Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP). I got the privilege of working with my mentor Dr. Monique van Hoek and my project focused on testing novel peptides derived from the Naja atra cobra against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This was the first time that I was actually setting up experiments and following the traditional scientific methods I had learned from labs. Under the firm but clear guidance of my mentor, I was able to accomplish a significant amount of work that semester and presented a poster at several conferences describing the effects of antimicrobial peptides on the biofilm production of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. I learned valuable lab techniques, statistical analysis, and how to perform antimicrobial assays, but most importantly I learned the importance of scientific collaboration.

Regarding where I would like to be long-term, I believe I would be content and most productive at a large research institution. This could be a university or other research institution such as a federal laboratory that allows for intellectual contribution towards a diverse set of fields, or a place that integrates a variety of fields in a unique way. Universities are attractive because of the broader impacts that your research can have on many people. My long term goal is to perform cutting edge science with a focus on biological sciences, using new technology and my increasing knowledge. I hope to work with supportive collaborators to understand the fundamental mechanisms of biology that can have broad applications to human health as well as environmental sciences.