Colby-Sawyer Biology Majors Present Biomedical Research

Two Colby-Sawyer biology majors were among a select few undergraduates chosen to present their research on developing an alternative method of treating bacterial infections to the New Hampshire IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (NH-INBRE) External Advisory Committee (EAC) on Saturday, Oct. 29.

Seniors Deepesh Duwadi of Dhading, Nepal, and Anishma Shrestha of Kathmandu, Nepal, are working with Colby-Sawyer College’s Assistant Professor of Natural Sciences James Jukosky and Dartmouth College’s Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Genetics Steven Fiering to test the efficacy of a specific peptide sequence on lab mice infected with E. coli.

In recent decades, many bacteria have become resistant to drugs. Scientists are rebuilding the arsenal against microbes by adapting peptides, a protein produced by all living organisms, to kill strains resistant to existing antibiotics.

Dr. Fiering partnered with Duwadi, Shrestha and Professor Jukosky this summer, and he continues to oversee the students’ research. In addition to giving them access to lab space at the Geisel School of Medicine, Dr. Fiering provides the Colby-Sawyer students with invaluable guidance.

In August, Duwadi and Shrestha presented their research, along with 58 other students across the state, during NH-INBRE’s 6th Annual Meeting. NH-INBRE selected them and just six others to go on to present their research to the EAC.

“Working with Dr. Fiering has been one of the best things ever to happen to me,” said Duwadi. “He gives us advice on how to conduct research and has encouraged our critical thinking and logical reasoning skills.”

Duwadi and Shrestha’s collaboration with Dr. Fiering highlights how NH-INBRE increases research opportunities for students in the state.

Supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NH-INBRE is a partnership between Colby-Sawyer, the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and seven other New Hampshire colleges.

“Collaborating with Duwadi, Shrestha and Dr. Jukosky has been productive and fun,” said Dr. Fiering. “Their efforts have enabled this very interesting research program to make rapid progress.”

The EAC is comprised of five senior scientists with extensive administrative experience and personal interest in NH-INBRE. After Duwadi and Shrestha presented their research on Saturday, the committee suggested ways to move their research forward.

Duwadi and Shrestha, who are incorporating this research project into their senior Capstone projects, plan to test a different peptide against S. aureus next. They are also working to publish their research in scientific journals.