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Del Mar student shares groundbreaking research, which could be used to treat harmful bacteria

Posted: 1:41 PM, Jun 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-10 14:41:34-04

A local college student is doing some groundbreaking research that could eventually be used by doctors to treat harmful bacteria like E. coli or vibrio.

Danial Nasr Azadani, an undergraduate biotechnology student from Del Mar College, has already shared his research with hundreds of other students from around the world.

He traveled to Germany in late May to share his findings at the 2nd World Congress on Undergraduate Research in Oldenburg. His research was on a virus that attacks bacteria, that cause deadly infections in humans like meningitis or sepsis.

During an internship at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, he worked under professors like Jeffrey Turner, PhD, an assistant professor of marine biology at TAMUCC, and Daisy Zhang, PhD, an associate professor of biotechnology at Del Mar.

With his professor’s guidance, Azadani developed a unique protocol to isolate the viruses, which are difficult to treat because of their resistance to many antibiotics.

“So now we have this new tool, this new viruses that we can utilize for fighting and going into combat against these antibiotic resistance bacteria,” said Azadani.

But now, he’s focusing on more research this summer, where he’ll look at how this virus changes the characteristics of its bacteria host. The bacterium he’s studying, called vibrio, is a food-borne pathogen and can cause infections in people who eat seafood.

All of his research is an effort to take a further look at bacteria and their resistance to antibiotics.

“We are almost at the point of no return,” said Azadani, “where antibiotics don’t work anymore.”

Now, Azadani has one more semester left before he plans to graduate in December. And his professors who motivated him over the past 3 1/2 years say he’s a bright student, with a big future ahead.

“He puts in 100, or 200% when he does something. He really just has that drive,” said Zhang.

“(It’s) been such a crazy ride for me here at Del Mar College,” said Azadani. “I am at the place that I would have never imagined I would be today.”

Azadani says he plans to publish his research in the upcoming weeks. After he graduates in December, he hopes to continue to work in the biotechnology field, working with viruses or stem cell research.

By the way, Azadani says there is more research to be done about these viruses, because if someone who is using them is not careful it could cause problems. However he mentions these viruses are a promising tool, and would be less dangerous and have less side effects of current ineffective antibiotics.