by: Emma Dauster
BHS juniors Nicole Rideout and John Nguyen and senior Matthew Bailey completed their research in the TIME program on the isolation of endophytes from spray cliff plants in Transylvania County. At the 2018 Western Region Science and Engineering Fair on February 8, the project received first place in the Biological Science A category, as well as the Highlands Biological Station “Best Senior Biodiversity Project” award.
Titled, “The Antimicrobial Activity of Endophytes Isolated From Transylvania County Spray Cliff Plants”, their project investigated the types of antimicrobial activity that the endophytes displayed in order to evaluate their potential to be used in medicine.
“This summer I read some articles about antibacterial activity in freshwater sea sponges and I became very interested in the topic of naturally occurring antimicrobial compounds,” said Rideout. “I ended up reading part of Ed Shwartzman’s field guide that detailed all the different rare plants in Transylvania County. That’s how we were able to determine the location for our project.”
Research on potential sources of natural medicine is becoming increasingly important, for more and more people are beginning to favor the natural approach to medicine.
“In the future, our research could be used in the medical field,” said Rideout. “The compounds we extracted could be used in medicine and different types of antibacterial or antifungal treatments.”
The TIME program provides students with the unique experience of being able to conduct real scientific research on their own time during a class period. It is an incredible opportunity for any student who wishes to make a difference in their community, state, or even country, by using science.
“The TIME program definitely helps if you know you’re interested in science because it allows you to feel out different types of science you might be interested in,” said Rideout.
For more information about the TIME program and how to be a part of it, please visit time4realscience.org.