While working in CU Chemical and Biological Engineering labs, high school students Logan Collins and Michael Chen respectively deployed artificial genes to overcome antibiotic resistance and utilized zeolite membrane for natural gas purification. They spoke about their work during recent 10-minute TEDx Mile High talks.
TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. While the TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, individual TEDx events are self-organized.
Under the direction of Assistant Professor Anushree Chatterjee, Collins has been researching antiobiotic resistance. His work involved designing a gene sequence and delivery system to create fatal chaos in harmful bacteria while protecting beneficial bacteria. At the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, his project, “The Conjugative Plasmid RK2 as a Delivery System for Artificial AnatheriaH Genes: A Novel Synthetic Biology Alternative to Traditional Antibiotics,” won the microbiology Best of Category award as well as the prestigious Dudley R. Herschbach SIYSS award.
Moved by the Beijing smog he experienced while visiting his grandfather, Chen began looking for ways to mitigate pollution. Working in the lab of Professor John Falconer, he used zeolite membranes to help remove polluting impurities such as carbon dioxide from natural gas. His project, “The Effects of Operating Conditions on Gas Transport Mechanisms through SAPO-34 Zeolite Membranes,” won first place for chemistry in the 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.