FRI Program – Biofilms Stream

Biofilms are communities of micro-organisms, primarily bacteria . . . that grow in association with surfaces. So, if you think about your teeth for example, that you brush every morning . . . you’ll be moving, you know, white-looking stuff from your teeth. These are actually biofilms. I am looking at pseudomonas aeruginosa with Dr. Jeffrey Schertzer. We’re actually growing pseudomonas biofilms and this new type of plastic flow cell. We’re kind of developing a new model to help more researchers look at biofilms, in an easier way. The main benefits of the FRI Program will be definitely that students will start thinking about what they are doing . . . way earlier than normal. They will actually have to do something and think about what they are doing. And, I think this is one of the major advantages. I had never been in a research lab before and I needed to kind of get my bearings, at first . . . But, it was really nice that the program gave me the opportunity to go through the steps . . . Where we learned the very basics at the beginning and then I had the freedom and independence, to do my own research. It was just fascinating to me . . . that the things I had seen in class, I kind of considered as an unobtainable method. This program gave me the resources to look into it. This is a great opportunity to get real research experience, very early on. Being in this program definitely gives you an edge, because I have so much experience that other people don’t have. Whatever I decide to do, they can see that our past experience in the labs. And, I know what it’s like to have some form of independence, in researching something. The first couple of times that I ran the experiment, I was still getting the hang of things, so it didn’t look exactly how we expected it to. But, a couple of weeks ago, I did my first experiment, where it looked exactly how I expected it to. And, it was a really exciting moment. It’s astonishing to see and it’s always exciting to see them, at this “ah ha” moment. Like, “Wow!” You know, this is how it works out. And, they’re improving a lot. The faculty members have been great. Each professor from this lab will give advising. So, I always feel like I can talk to them. I think they have a lot more opportunities, than the regular undergraduate student. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone with that kind of a skill-set already. You know, they should be highly seeked students. This will be a skill-set already. This will be an experience that will last them a lifetime.

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