Tiny Earth Network Builds Student Researchers in Antibiotics
Sept. 11, 2018
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Illinois Wesleyan University is joining with Tiny Earth Network to prepare student researchers to address the modern-day public health crisis of
Assistant Professor of Biology Loralyn Cozy took part in a week-long training program
over the summer at the University of Connecticut to become a partner instructor in
the Tiny Earth Network. With the help of high school, college and university instructors
in 14 countries worldwide, the program works to address the diminishing supply of
effective antibiotics by fostering a new generation of researchers.
Instructors integrate the curriculum and the research protocols from Tiny Earth Network
into their introductory laboratory courses, which exposes students to the importance
of combating bacteria that have evolved to become resistant to current antibiotic
“Tiny Earth’s newest batch of partner instructors are an inspiring cohort of researchers
and educators already bringing fresh ideas to Tiny Earth’s core mission of engaging
undergraduate and high school students in real discovery,” said Tiny Earth Science
and Training Director Nichole Broderick.
By having students from across the globe work in tandem to uncover new antibiotic-producing
microbes, Tiny Earth’s approach of “studentsourcing antibiotic discovery” will hopefully
lead to innovations in how modern medicine can eradicate illnesses caused by harmful
bacteria. Simultaneously, students benefit from valuable research experience, with
the knowledge that their work has the potential to make a difference in healthcare.
Starting this fall, the Tiny Earth Network curriculum will be implemented as the laboratory
portion of Biology 314 (Microbiology). Illinois Wesleyan is the first Illinois school
outside the Chicagoland area to take part in this initiative.
“I'm really excited to bring the Tiny Earth Network to IWU,” said Cozy. “By engaging
our students in authentic research that connects to the larger world, and a problem
as big as antibiotic discovery, I hope we can inspire a new generation of young scientists.”