Did you know that people die from hospital acquired infections every day? They go into the hospital with something else: for example, a back injury and while they are at the hospital they fall ill with pneumonia. The patient may not be able to recover from the pneumonia and ends up more sick which results in the patient’s death. Although the rate of deaths due to hospital acquired infections has declined dramatically over the last couple of years (a 21% decline between 2010 and 2015 according to the US Advisory Board), they still occur.
One of the ways to combat the occurrence of deaths due to hospital acquired infections, is to find out what is causing them. According to the CDC, Acientobacter baumannii is one of the leading causes for hospital acquired infections (HAIs) today. A. baumannii is also one of the bacterial species that has grown highly resistant to many antibiotics over the years.
As part of my INBRE project, I am aiming to purify and characterize a certain protein in this bacteria. By purification and characterization, the bacteria’s protein can then be further studied and possibly inhibited. By inhibiting this specific protein, the hope is that we can stop this bacteria’s path of infection.
So far this project has included a lot of pipetting, running gels, sequencing, and growing E-coli with the gene of interest expressed in it. These processes have sometimes been long and repetitive but always informative and exciting! One of the best feelings is being able to see results, whether it be form a positive test on the gel to the site of colonies that have gown on a plate. The end results despite them being good or bad are always intriguing. I hope that by doing this, people in hospital settings will no longer have to worry about “Stayin’ Alive”.