Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library

Subject Area

Chemistry

Description

Interests in the mechanism that penicillin bestows on its target protein has driven the curiosity of its binding specificity towards the methicillin resistant strain of Staphylococcus areus, and its expression of a unique penicillin binding protein that has enabled its resistance. The ability of bacteria to gain antibiotic resistance has strengthened the ongoing need to synthesize and discover novel drugs to combat the diseases that follow infection. If it were not for the collaborations between scientific disciplines, the production of effective novel drugs such as penicillin would not be the same. To encourage undergraduate students to make real world connections across disciplines, the development of an interdisciplinary organic chemistry-microbiology laboratory experiment was developed. By utilizing discovery-based, authentic research to intentionally encourage student collaboration and improve retention of knowledge gained, a pedagogical experiment involving students from both organic chemistry and microbiology was designed to meet these goals. To implement this educational experiment into existing curriculum, an original experiment was designed and tested in the fall of 2014 to develop a synthetic experimental procedure and biological assay that could be used by organic chemistry and microbiology students in the following spring. The synthetic experimental portion had to be completed within a three-hour laboratory period, yet provide enough versatility for each set of students to synthesize different penicillin compounds by varying the acyl tails attached to the penicillin head group. Once the penicillin compounds were synthesized, the organic chemistry students prepared brief presentations to explain the chemistry behind their syntheses to the microbiology students, who aided in their biological testing, allowing students to visualize the antimicrobial efficacy of their antibiotic on bacterial strains.

Microbiology students collaborated in the biological analysis by teaching the chemistry students how to perform a disc diffusion assay and interpret possible susceptibility that the antibiotics may have had on gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial strains. This experiment illustrated the benefits of performing open-ended research to create new possible antibiotics in a chemistry course and of testing the synthesized products in a biology course to visualize the antimicrobial efficacy of their antibiotic on bacterial strains. Overall, this experiment gave students in each course the chance to teach and share their newly learned expertise with their peers, to make scientific connections across disciplines and to address an authentic, open-ended research problem through cooperative learning.

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May 15th, 12:15 PM May 15th, 1:30 PM

Interdisciplinary Research-Based Learning in Organic Chemistry and Microbiology Laboratories: Synthesis and Biological Testing of Novel Penicillin Derivatives

Jereld R. Nicholson Library

Interests in the mechanism that penicillin bestows on its target protein has driven the curiosity of its binding specificity towards the methicillin resistant strain of Staphylococcus areus, and its expression of a unique penicillin binding protein that has enabled its resistance. The ability of bacteria to gain antibiotic resistance has strengthened the ongoing need to synthesize and discover novel drugs to combat the diseases that follow infection. If it were not for the collaborations between scientific disciplines, the production of effective novel drugs such as penicillin would not be the same. To encourage undergraduate students to make real world connections across disciplines, the development of an interdisciplinary organic chemistry-microbiology laboratory experiment was developed. By utilizing discovery-based, authentic research to intentionally encourage student collaboration and improve retention of knowledge gained, a pedagogical experiment involving students from both organic chemistry and microbiology was designed to meet these goals. To implement this educational experiment into existing curriculum, an original experiment was designed and tested in the fall of 2014 to develop a synthetic experimental procedure and biological assay that could be used by organic chemistry and microbiology students in the following spring. The synthetic experimental portion had to be completed within a three-hour laboratory period, yet provide enough versatility for each set of students to synthesize different penicillin compounds by varying the acyl tails attached to the penicillin head group. Once the penicillin compounds were synthesized, the organic chemistry students prepared brief presentations to explain the chemistry behind their syntheses to the microbiology students, who aided in their biological testing, allowing students to visualize the antimicrobial efficacy of their antibiotic on bacterial strains.

Microbiology students collaborated in the biological analysis by teaching the chemistry students how to perform a disc diffusion assay and interpret possible susceptibility that the antibiotics may have had on gram-negative and gram-positive bacterial strains. This experiment illustrated the benefits of performing open-ended research to create new possible antibiotics in a chemistry course and of testing the synthesized products in a biology course to visualize the antimicrobial efficacy of their antibiotic on bacterial strains. Overall, this experiment gave students in each course the chance to teach and share their newly learned expertise with their peers, to make scientific connections across disciplines and to address an authentic, open-ended research problem through cooperative learning.

 

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