Emily Gutierrez

OU Major: 
Research Mentor: 
Dr. Brad Stevenson, Emily Junkins
Describe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Current drug therapy approaches include identifying natural products produced by plants and microorganisms due to their therapeutic effects against pathogens. One source of metabolic diversity and putative natural products is in the microbial communities of roadkill mammals as these microbiomes represent phylogenetically diverse taxa and, by extension, potential for novel antimicrobial natural products. The rationale behind this resource resides in host specificity; namely, that if a non-human mammal can tolerate a certain microbial compound then humans may also be able to tolerate that compound with limited cytotoxicity. Using high-throughput, assay guided screening, and a co-cultivation approach, we identified one species, Streptomyces sp. SPB74, to be inhibitive of human pathogen Enterococcus faecium. Crude compound extracts were obtained via ethyl acetate extraction and are being identified via LCMS. Overall, the cultivation approach and screening pipeline isolated bioactive organisms from road kill mammals, proving the mammalian microbiome to be a viable sampling choice.

Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:

Although I had taken laboratory classes required for my major, nothing could have prepared me for the arduous, yet rewarding process of undergraduate research. I learned critical skills and molecular tools that will serve to help me in my career as a researcher. One important concept that I quickly learned was that not everyday would be a success; failing was okay. Some days would be spent correcting reoccurring issues, making the days where we would see a breakthrough in our research much more meaningful.

Awards and/or presentations:

Emily Gutierrez, Dr. Brad Stevenson, and Emily Junkins. “Roadkill Mammals as a Source for Antibiotic Producing Microorganisms". Poster Presentation. Curiosity to Creativity Symposium. Norman, OK.

Published Work: