Since I started working with Doctor van Hoek (at the MVH lab) in the Science and Technology campus, I have been exposed to many inspirational and driven individuals. Working alongside masters and PhD students, I have already learned so much about a real microbiology laboratory. From working with bacteria to autoclaving equipment, I have realized that working in a lab is fun, exciting, fast-paced, and most importantly, serious!
Currently, I am working with various bacteria and yeast found in our oral microflora. Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans are microorganisms found in the oral cavity, which are responsible for common diseases, such as carries (cavities). The goal of this project is to determine how these microorganisms grow and how we can inhibit them. In the MVH lab, I am the only person who is working on this project with the assistance of my managers/mentors, Stephanie and Dr. van Hoek.
Though working in the lab is very fast-paced, working with microorganisms can be very slow. Since the majority of my work relies on growing bacteria and yeast, sometimes it may take two to five days to achieve results. If the results are not desirable, the experimental procedure has be modified to acquire the desired results. On a weekly base, I will do many things, including growing bacteria, sterilizing equipment, and testing antibiotic resistance against bacterial growth! After many trials this week, I confirmed that Stevia extracts can inhibit the growth of bacteria!
Since my long-term goal is to enter dental school and practice as a dentist, I think this project will help me achieve a greater understanding of the oral microflora, which is a key component of having a healthy mouth! Thus, having this knowledge will help me be a better dentist. With further knowledge and outstanding research, groundbreaking results may be found, which may benefit the medical community. My ultimate goal is to help move science forward and allow the community to achieve better health!