Biology selected to participate in Small World Initiative

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Lewis University Biology Faculty selected to participate in Small World Initiative

Published: July 28, 2014.

Lewis University Biology faculty members were selected as a partner instructors in the Yale University Center for Scientific Teaching Small World Initiative (SWI) during the 2014-2015 academic year. The project uses undergraduate research courses at universities across the nation to crowd source the discovery of new antibiotics.

Dr. Marne Bailey, assistant professor of biology, and Jeannette Pifer, instructor of biology, will be leading the microbiology lab courses this fall and spring that are participating in the initiative. “It’s a good fit with our microbiology lab course that incorporates learning and research,” Bailey said. Last semester, biology majors were conducting similar research that enhanced their educational experience. They were sampling cell phones to identify present bacteria.

The Lewis University students participating in the SWI will conduct research by culturing soil microbes, screening for antibiotic activity against pathogens, 16s rRNA gene sequencing, and extracting metabolites. The microbiology lab students will be learning core biological concepts as they do research in this introductory course. They will be undertaking experimental design, data analysis and presentations.

Earlier this year, the Small World Initiative was highlighted at the President's Forum at the American Society for Microbiology’s 2014 General Meeting in Boston.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,600 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit for further information.

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