Students at JMU Researching Drug-Resistant Genes

By: Anna-lysa Gayle Email
By: Anna-lysa Gayle Email

HARRISONBURG -- A few young women are trying to understand the link between some viruses and how drug-resistant genes are spread. Their research could potentially help people who may suffer from staph infections like MRSA.

"I would rather be doing this than any other job pretty much, it is not just the research we do, but it is the people you work with. I mean everybody supports each other," said Alexis Brouilette, who is spending her summer in a lab instead of away from campus like most other college students. She is a senior health science major at James Madison University.

"The DNA contains the genes that we're really interested in so in order to study those genes we need a sample of the DNA," said Brouilette.

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She uses cow feces to gather genes for their study. Through her research she may be able to help people like her brother.

"My brother actually went to the hospital and contracted MRSA while there," said Brouilette.

MRSA is a form of staph infection that can be deadly. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), more than 5,000 deaths are caused by MRSA each year. The staph bacteria is resistant to certain antibiotics, which makes it hard to treat.

"Antibiotic resistance is becoming more and more of a problem," said Brooke Sauder, a junior Biology major at JMU.

That's why the research being done here today is necessary.

"Understanding the mechanism does lead to better applications and better drug target treatments, said Dr. Louise Temple, who advises the JMU students.

"Once you understand the problem, you can obviously fix the problem," said McKenzie Quinn who is a Research Assistant at JMU.


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