Rutgers-Camden Students Share Research on Microbiology Day

Robert Wentworth (right) describes his project on Microbiology Day.

Robert Wentworth (right) describes his project on Microbiology Day.

From influenza and antibiotics to bacteria and funguses, Rutgers–Camden students have been hard at work this semester solving the many mysteries of microbiology.

At Microbiology Day, held May 1 and 2 in the Rutgers–Camden Campus Center, 60 students performing research on a variety of topics in their General Microbiology course shared their discoveries and observations with the campus community.

“What I love about Rutgers–Camden is the opportunity we as students have to do research,” says John Hill, a junior from Cinnaminson. “It’s a vital part of our education. Microbiology Day is a time for everyone to shine. It feels great to be able to show people what we’ve learned over the course of the semester.”

Hill, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who came to Rutgers–Camden to study biology, spent the semester researching the causes and health effects associated with Stachybotrys chartarum, otherwise known as black mold.

Other projects researched this semester include the use of microorganisms in producing biomaterials, the evolution of HIV treatment, and salmonella in eggs and meat products.

“The best way to learn about a subject is teaching and presenting on that subject,” says Kwangwon Lee, an associate professor of biology at Rutgers–Camden who organizes Microbiology Day and teaches General Microbiology. “I want the students to research topics that are interesting to them. I encourage them to pick a topic they want to study on their own, so they’re researching their own interests. There’s no limit to what they can learn about a topic.”

Working alone or in teams, the students prepared informational poster boards and fact sheets explaining their research to classmates, friends, and family members attending Microbiology Day.

“It’s nice to be able to share our work and help people understand different aspects of biology at an event like this,” says Celena King, a senior biology major from Palmyra researching shingles in young adults. “Most people have heard of shingles, but may not understand what it is, so we’re hoping our research helps educate people.”

Robert Wentworth, a senior biology major from Mount Laurel, researching the effectiveness of Tamiflu on the influenza virus, says his work this semester lends itself to his interests after graduation.

“I’d like to go into pharmacy professionally, so being able to do the research behind a drug to figure out how it works and how it affects viruses is exciting,” Wentworth says. “We’re taking what we learn in class and applying it to our research.”

This year marked the third annual Microbiology Day at Rutgers–Camden. For a complete listing of projects done this semester, click here.

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