TMCC Included in National Research Project Identifying Bacteria - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

TMCC Included in National Research Project Identifying Bacteria

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Truckee Meadows Community College is getting a very rare opportunity.

They have been included in a nationwide project on combating bacteria for the 2014-2015 school year.

TMCC is the only community college in the U.S. to be included in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Alliance Project, which will identify phage.

Phage is a virus that infects bacteria, but does not infect humans. "What we're doing is trying to identify phage in the area, and classify them, so see what they look like and look into their genome and see what genes they have," said Dr. Laura Briggs.

That genome is key. The genome is the genetic material in a molecule.

According to Dr. Briggs, depending on that material, some phage can kill bacteria and are currently used to treat antibiotic resistant bacterial infections Europe.

TMCC students will be looking at how phage might be able to help fight bacteria infecting animals and humans here.

Dr. Briggs said the research they will be doing may provide tools for many potential applications in human medicine as well as veterinary medicine and agriculture. "So there's bacteria that affect us, like the HIV virus and then there's viruses that also infect bacteria. So we are going to try and identify ones that haven't been discovered before. There's more phage than any other molecule."

Dr. Briggs said professors and students will be traveling to the east coast for training this summer.

Written by Chris Ciarlo

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