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Q&A with IIDR Summer Fellowship Recipient Liban Mohamed

Liban Mohamed is one of 10 IIDR trainees to have received the Institute’s prestigious Summer Fellowship Award. The highly competitive fellowship, now in its fourth year and worth $1,000, is designed to support students working in the labs of IIDR members during their summer practicum, which runs from May to August.

Whose lab are you working in and what drew you to their research?

I’m currently working in the Burrows Lab. What I find most appealing about the role of a researcher is the detective-like nature of the work. As a researcher, you take a series of clues – in my case it’s data – and it’s your responsibility to create a comprehensive story, or determine the mechanism that ties everything together.

In the Burrows Lab I concentrate on antibiotic resistance. This is one of the biggest challenges facing modern medicine today, and it’s a privilege to receive first-hand experience working in a lab committed to solving this problem.

What are the real world applications of your research?

The most important real world application of my research is the potential for the discovery and development of an adjuvant to enhance current therapeutics. If we’re able to find a way to inhibit critical enzymes within a particular resistance pathway, we could potentially turn off the entire resistance mechanism all together.

What do you hope to accomplish during your fellowship?

The primary goal I hope to achieve during my fellowship is to further understand and elucidate what happens inside the cell when you inhibit the function of key enzymes.

How will this fellowship allow you to do this?

This fellowship provides me with the opportunity to engage in cutting-edge research in the Burrows Lab. It also allows me to expand the scope of my project. For example, in addition to inhibiting the function of certain key enzymes, I can now explore the effects associated with this action.

Basically, this fellowship has allowed me to explore and further understand specific resistance pathways in ways I wouldn’t have been able to do before. I’m incredibly grateful for this opportunity.

What is your end goal, in terms of a career?

My hope is to become a clinician researcher, and the experience I’ve gained through working in the Burrows Lab will definitely help me achieve this goal.

Liban Mohamed describes his research project