Tiny Earth initiative to fight shortage of new antibiotics heads to Beloit College
Beloit College is joining the push to mitigate one of the most critical public health crises facing the world: antibiotic resistance. Kristin Labby, assistant professor of chemistry, took part in a week-long training to become a partner instructor in the Tiny Earth initiative, a program founded by University of Wisconsin–Madison professor Jo Handelsman with a two-fold mission: to encourage students to pursue careers in science through real-world applicable laboratory and field research in introductory courses, and to address a worldwide health threat – the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics – by tapping into the collective power of many student researchers concurrently tackling the same challenge.
From Jan. 7-11, Kristin and instructors from institutions across the United States attended an intensive five-day training hosted at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. The new instructors are part of Tiny Earth’s commitment to engage schools, departments, colleges, and aspiring scientists across the globe. “I plan to begin laying the groundwork for this project this summer with McNair scholar Brenda Martinez-Flores’21, and two Pakula Biomedical Scholars, then pilot the program in the classroom in a spring 2020 biochemistry course titled “Next-Generation Antimicrobials” says Kristin.
Furthermore, Kristin has been awarded funding for this work from the grant “Tiny Earth and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative: A Pilot Bridging Communities through Soil and Discovery.” The funds will provide supplies to conduct Tiny Earth research this summer in conjunction with students from the Beloit College Upward Bound program and host a Wisconsin Science Festival event related to Tiny Earth at Beloit College on Saturday, Oct. 19.