Antibiotic Discovery Lab MCDB1171



Students participating in MCDB 1171 engage in a research project related to the research of Dr. Corrie Detweiler.  The aim of the project is to identify novel antibiotics by screening through compound libraries from the National Cancer Institute’s Developmental Therapeutics Program in bacteria (Salmonella).  Students grow bacteria and screen sets up approximately 150 compounds per week so more than 1,000 compounds are screened over the course of the semester.  Data generated are considered collectively to identify potential hits. At the end of the semester, students may choose to further tests one or more of the hits by producing a dose-response curve or testing different media conditions.  Students may decide to identify other compounds with similar chemical structures to validate a potential mechanism of action.  At the end of the semester, students prepare a manuscript-style research report and present their data and interpretations to a committee of faculty members.

Course Objectives

MCDB 1171 is a research-based course. Students will become familiar with a number of biology concepts and research techniques including approaches to screening for new therapeutics, statistical analyses, and presentation of data to a faculty committee and in a research report. Unlike laboratory exercises that are designed to reinforce concepts that may accompany lecture topics, there is no certainty that any one particular project will succeed, which reflects the inherent risks of novel research. The goal-oriented nature of this research effort means that validation of findings will also be performed.

  1. Understand how the data contribute to the research being performed in the Detweiler lab and also to drug discovery in general,
  2. Obtain experience in bacteriologic culture methods,
  3. Participate in drug screen experiments to identify compounds with potential therapeutic value,
  4. Statistically evaluate experimental data,
  5. Present final research data to a review panel during the final exam period,
  6. Understand and be able to describe previous research on the compound(s),
  7. Understand and be able to describe how your data relate to previous research.