Poly Research Initiative Publishes in National Database
Students participating in the Poly Research Initiative, led by Upper School Science Teacher Dr. Bala Selvakumar, have published work in a nationally recognized database.
Students used primary literature to identify a research question and hypothesis that they used to choose a local soil sample to perform experiments about antibiotic resistance, including samples from around local hospitals and public parks and, in some instances, choosing resistance genes that were specific to an area. The data generated from these experiments were shared with Dr. Shannon Thyne, Director of Pediatrics, LA County Department of Health Services, as well as reviewed and entered into the antimicrobial resistance database maintained by Tufts University.
Students also used primary literature to identify local soil samples to PCR-screen for phenazine metabolism genes that are associated with disease-suppressive soils. The data from these experiments was reported to Dr. Dianne Newman at the California Institute of Technology for feedback.
The World Health Organization recognizes antibiotic resistance as a top global public health threat. Goal 2 of the current National Action Plan recommends strengthening screening for antibiotic resistance. Students contribute to this goal by using environmental DNA extraction and PCR methodology to screen local soil samples for antibiotic resistance genes.
The program and Poly were also recently featured (section entitled, "World Shaping Projects at Polytechnic") in Getting Smart, an educational publication run by the former Director of Education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as part of a review article on real-world learning in high schools around the country.