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Jonathan Samuel, Recipient of the Levy CIMAR Undergraduate Summer Internship in Science and Medicine

Fall 2023 Featured Trainee:

Jonathan Samuel

  • Sophomore at Tufts University School of Arts and Sciences working with Levy CIMAR investigator Dr. Ralph Isberg on understanding factors contributing to antibiotic resistance in A. baumannii
  • Recipient of the 2023 Levy CIMAR Undergraduate Summer Internship in Science and Medicine

Jonathan Samuel is a sophomore biochemistry major at Tufts University’s Undergraduate School of Arts and Sciences, and was one of just two scholars selected for the 2023 Levy CIMAR Undergraduate Summer Internship in Science and Medicine. Jonathan is interested in the underlying mechanisms in organisms, particularly in translating biological processes to understand illness and prevent disease. He is fascinated, he says, “by the intersection of science and medicine, where people’s lives can be improved.”

Jonathan with his mentor, Levy CIMAR Director Dr. Ralph Isberg (click to enlarge)

This summer, Jonathan joined the lab of Levy CIMAR director Ralph Isberg, PhD, whose work focuses on pneumonic and diarrheal diseases and on identifying approaches that block the development of drug resistance in nosocomial pathogens. Jonathan’s project in the Isberg Lab characterized a factor encoded by Acinetobacter baumannii that likely plays a role in establishing resistance to antibiotic treatment in the hospital setting.

The Isberg Lab has shown that the overexpression of the newly discovered MfsA efflux pump increases the survival of A. baumannii in the presence of the fluoroquinolone antibiotic ciprofloxacin. Performing Minimum Concentration of Inhibition assays (MIC), Jonathan identified the resistance levels to a variety of antibiotics of two different mfsA mutants that overproduce the pump. In addition, he performed a Persister Assay to determine if persistence or tolerance is involved in A. baumannii-enhanced drug survival in the presence of the overproduced pump. In summation, this work involved methods to identify the mechanisms that A. baumannii employs to defend itself from antibiotics.

Following graduation, Jonathan plans to attend medical school to become a physician. In this career, he hopes to acknowledge and work against the disparities in access to healthcare worldwide. “As an aspiring physician and scientist, this summer research experience further solidifies my passion for biomedical research. I aspire to implement my expertise in research and the clinical setting to produce an everlasting effect on families and communities,” he says.

In Jonathan’s free time, he enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing soccer, and running.