Students explore drug-resistant bacteria at Rice U.’s ‘Shamoo Lab’

Post-doc student Dr. Troy Hammerstrom explains the drug-resistance work the Shamoo Lab is doing to students from the Jane Long Academy.

With more infectious agents becoming immune to standard antibiotics, the study of how bacteria develop resistance to various drugs is becoming more critical than ever.

That’s one reason why more than 100 students from four HISD high schools got an up-close and personal look at almost a dozen different STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)-related career fields last month, thanks to the Rice Empower program’s second annual STEM expo.

The expo took place on the campus of Rice University, and participants heard from more than five dozen professors, graduate students, and student advisors about the many fascinating fields of study that await them, including medicine, bioengineering, nanotechnology, physics, chemistry, and astronomy.

“The Empower STEM Expo is really just an amazing experience for everyone involved,” said Dante Zakhidov, Rice Empower president. “HISD students get an engaging, exciting, and broad survey of STEM fields. Rice professors can give back to their community by contextualizing their work, and Rice students learn valuable leadership skills by guiding and mentoring the HISD participants.”

While there, HISD students from REACH Charter and Furr High School, the Jane Long Academy, and East Early College High School learned about the current research being done on drug-resistant bacteria in the “Shamoo lab,” which is so-named in honor of the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering Director and biochemistry and cell biology professor Yousif Shamoo.

The event was generously underwritten by Schlumberger and the Rice Institute for Biosciences and Bioengineering.