Discover Your Own Drug

Justin Fendos used backwards design to create his research program. He started with what he wanted to provide students, and designed the research program from there.

Goals of the Program

The four goals were to give students...

  1. A strong applicable knowledge of the scientific process.
  2. Functional experience with lab equipment and techniques.
  3. A sense of ownership in their research.
  4. An opportunity to conduct research in a relevant, meaningful area of study.

After determining the educational objectives of the project, the actual framework of the project was carefully crafted to meet these objectives.

Description of the Program

The research program will have three components:

  1. Using the Minnesota Mississippi Metagenome Project’s (M3P) genomic library, students will screen for antibiotic-resistant genes. Students will chose an antibiotic they wish to work with.
  2. Students will make essential oils from herbal remedies and test them for anti-microbial properties. Students will also chose the herbs they wish to work with.
  3. Students will use the herbal reagents to perform a kill test against antibiotic-resistant bacteria discovered in the metagenome screen. The goal is to find a chemical that will be useful in combating antibiotic resistance.

Students will obtain firsthand experience in the scientific process and gain valuable experience carrying out various lab procedures, as they search for new drug molecules. Discoveries from the metagenome library, herb screen, or kill test could provide students with publishable data.