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Antimicrobial Drug Discovery (Riley Lab) - FULL

Our competitive Research Intensives program places high-achieving high school students in professional working labs alongside distinguished faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.

Research Intensive in the Antimicrobial Drug Discovery Lab (Riley Lab)

We live in the post-antibiotic era, which refers to the fact that bacterial pathogens harbor resistance to our most powerful antibiotics. In fact, by 2050, antibiotic resistant infections will be the leading cause of death in the world. The Riley Lab is hard at work discovering and developing a novel family of antimicrobials, the bacteriocins. These protein toxins are produced by most species of bacteria and are designed to narrowly target other members of the same species. This mode of action stands in sharp contrast to conventional antibiotics, which kill any bacteria present, including members of our precious microbiomes. Our microbiomes are critical in determining our health and antibiotics have wreaked havoc on these precious health-promoting symbionts.

If you join our lab you will be part of an exciting journey as we hunt for novel bacteriocin-based antimicrobials that eliminate the offending pathogens but leave our healthy microbiome intact. Current projects include development of a bacteriocin-based ointment to eliminate acne, the creation of bacteriocin-infused sutures to prevent surgical site infections, and the development of bacteriocin-coated catheters to prevent catheter associated urinary tract infections.

The Riley lab can host up to 18 students. Learn more

Program Overview

During this program, high school students will assist UMass faculty and graduate students in research labs while learning about research methodologies and contributing to ongoing research studies. Each student will create and present a research poster to faculty, fellow students, friends and family at a poster session at the end of the program.

Students will come away with an introduction to the field of Biology, firsthand experience with university-level research, and an understanding of opportunities that exist for undergraduate students at a major R1 university such as UMass Amherst.



For all Research Intensives applications: In your statement of interest, please include 3 lab choices from our list of available labs along with a brief explanation of your interest in each one.

This course is offered at the UMass Amherst campus as a residential program. Local students may apply to attend as a commuter.