High school Projects

Riley Ka'ai-2023

St. Andrew’s Schools - The Priory

Spring 2023 Science Fair Project 

This Riley Ka'ai, a sophomore at St. Andrew's Priory. Her project investigated the effects of environmental conditions on the development of tetracycline resistance in soil bacteria. During the project, 4 soil samples from livestock farms around the island were collected. These samples were then put through PCR, gel electrophoresis and sequencing to prove the existence of two tetracycline resistant genes, then compared by Sanger sequencing. All of this was achieved with the help of Dr. Prišić and her students who provided guidance, sequencing, and a beadbeater. Riley's project was presented at districts, and qualified for states in April. 

Mattox Oie-2023

St. Andrew’s Schools - The Priory

Spring 2023 Science Fair Project 

I appreciate Dr. Prišić, Jaymie Bilog-Mina (undergraduate student), Jayna Wong (graduate student), and Randi Yamauchi’s (lab assistant) guidance in my experiment. With their help, I was able to learn many necessary skills for the lab, such as pipetting and serial dilution. Additionally, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) grant has given me the opportunity to experience and experiment in the lab. The aim of this experiment is to investigate whether zinc has an effect on the drug susceptibility of Escherichia coli (E. coli) strain C41. To assess this, I employed the Kirby-Bauer method which tests the bacteria's sensitivity to antibiotics. I created sixteen petri dishes, with eight containing Tetrakis-(2-pyridylmethyl)ethylenediamine (TPEN) to limit zinc and eight without. On each plate, I swabbed with E. coli, added an antibiotic disc, and placed them in the incubator. After 24 hours, I collected my results which were analyzed using a T-test. Ultimately, I found that the antibiotic susceptibility of E. coli is not affected by zinc limitation and that the antibiotics tested, other than vancomycin, should be effective when the immune system limits zinc. Further research is needed to confirm these results.

Gray Nauwelaerts-2023

University Laboratory School

Spring 2023 Science Fair Project 

Gray’s project was to test how well tea tree, lemon, and lavender oil reduce bacterial growth collected from a shower. With the purpose of “replacing” bleach, a corrosive substance. Gray collected bacteria and used a Kirby Bauer assay to determine the effectiveness of the essential oils using technique and supplies acquired from Dr. Prišić and Jaymie Bilog-Mina, Kaye Rochelle Nono, and Jayna Wong. The experiments showed that tea tree and lavender essential oils reduced bacterial growth and lemon essential oil did not. Trials with distilled water and coconut oil dilutions occurred and are still ongoing. Gray was invited to and presented at the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium and presented at the Honolulu District Science and Engineering Fair. Gray won the Stockholm Junior Water Prize. 

Tai Sorenson-2023

University Laboratory School

Spring 2023 Science Fair Project 

Tai’s project this year was determining the bacterial differences between organically and conventionally grown produce and if an Apple Cider Vinegar mixture would be able to rid the produce effectively of the many bacteria it was found to have.  She acquired lab techniques from Dr. Prišić and LB-Agar plates were made by her students Jaymie Bilog-Mina and Kaye Rochelle Nono.  In her experiment, she used Organic and Conventional Tomatoes, Apples, and Green Cabbage as different mediums for testing the bacterial differences.  Results revealed that on average organic produce contained more bacteria than conventional produce. And the most effective way of washing produce in a safe, cost-effective, and healthy way was with Apple Cider Vinegar.  She was invited to present at the Junior Science Humanities Symposium and presented at her district’s Science Fair.  She won the Best in Category for Microbiology and the United States Air Force Award.  

Ayana Sakamoto-2022

Roosevelt High School

Spring 2022 Science Fair Project 

Ayana's project for this year was on identifying the role of alternative ribosomes in biofilm formation in Bacillus subtilis. To explore this relationship, a crystal violet assay, motility plate cultures, and a proteomic analysis were performed with the help and guidance of Jayna. While it was hypothesized that the WT+TPEN condition would result in greater biofilm formation, it was found that WT+Zn had the greatest as found by the crystal violet assay. Due to contradicting data, it is difficult to make a conclusion on whether the presence of alternative ribosomes has an effect on biofilm formation in B. subtilis. This project qualified for the 2022 International Science and Engineering Fair and the Hawaii State Science Fair where it was awarded 1st Place Best of Category for Microbiology and the Queen’s Health System Award. At the Honolulu District Science Fair, it was awarded Best of Category for Microbiology, placed in the top 6, and won the Office of Naval Research – U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps Award.

Ayana Sakamoto-2021

Roosevelt High School

Spring 2021 Science Fair Project 

Ayana's project was focused on identifying whether the presence of AltRPs in Bacillus subtilis had an effect on cell wall permeability and efflux. Electron microscopy (TEM and SEM), and accumulation and efflux assays were conducted by Jayna to monitor the transport of ethidium bromide across the cell membrane. 3 strains of B. subtilis were compared: WT + Zn (positive control), WT - Zn (wild-type) , and Δ - Zn (deletion mutant). While it was found that the presence or absence of AltRPs does not have a significant effect on cell wall permeability and efflux ability, AltRPs induce morphological changes in B. subtilis. Ayana's project was awarded 3rd place in Microbiology at the Hawaii State Science Fair. 

Ayana Sakamoto-2020

Roosevelt High School

Spring 2020 Science Fair Project 

Ayana's goal was to test whether or not Bacillus subtilis requires alternative ribosomal proteins to survive antibiotic stress. Jayna and Brandi helped her use Microplate Alamar Blue Assay (MABA) to compare antibiotic susceptibility of the wild type bacterium and a deletion mutant lacking alternative ribosomal proteins. Ayana's project qualified at the Honolulu District Science Fair for the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair in April 2020. 

Alexandrea Wong

St. Andrew's Schools - The Priory

Fall 2019 Research Internship

Alexandrea learned from Jayna and Brandi how to grow  Bacillus subtilis, stain bacteria, use microscope, and set up disc diffusion antibiotic tests. She presented about her research experience in front of her class mates, teachers, mentors, and parents in her school. 

selected research Projects 2015-2019