Geauga student researcher discovers potential alternative to antibiotics


Courtesy of Kent State University

Lauren Petrick (left) and Sanhita Gupta.

Trent Blackburn, Reporter

Lauren Petrick, a junior nursing student at Kent State Geauga, successfully isolated a bacterial virus that could be used as an alternative to antibiotics in fighting off intestinal bacterial infections.

Antibiotic resistant bacteria limits the ability of modern medicine since the bacteria do not respond to many forms of medication. Her research, conducted as part of the Kent State Summer Undergraduate Research Experience program, allowed Petrick to discover other ways to fight bacteria that wouldn’t be affected by antibiotics.

This discovery did not come without challenges. Because of the school’s COVID protocols and restrictions on in-person activities, many of the facilities and equipment went a long time without use.

“A lot of it was just since no one had been in the building doing these things for I think a year at that time,” Petrick said. “The gas took a really long time to turn on, and all of our autoclaves were broken, so I ended up having to go to Kent State Ashtabula to make some media for the project.”

Through Kent State’s SURE program, Petrick received a stipend and the opportunity to work directly with a mentor and conduct research that wouldn’t be possible in a normal classroom setting. Petrick spent much of the summer working with Kent State Geauga associate professor Sanhita Gupta.

The hands-on experience SURE provides students is a valuable experience that will prepare them well for their future careers, Gupta said.

“The hands-on research also develops many things, many things besides just giving them the experience for the real world,” Gupta said. “So we’re really grateful that SURE offered this to our program. Kent offered this to us so that she could [have this opportunity] and she got this experience in something that is very interesting.”

Following her research, Petrick presented her results in the competitive SURE event at the Kent campus and finished in second place.

Petrick is scheduled to graduate in Spring 2023 and is now working in a pro re nata position at the Cleveland Clinic.

“I get to float all over the hospital, which has also been very beneficial because I’ve gotten to see almost every unit at the hospital,” Petrick said. “And as of now I really would love to go into critical care. I would love to work in a cardiac ICU.”

Trent Blackburn is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].