Stephanie Defillipe is an I-CUREUS participant in the Food Science and Nutrition program, assisting in Dr. Avis’ research in the field of food microbiology. She says:

I-CUREUS has allowed me to learn and experience new things at school outside of the typical classroom setting!

My project was based on extracting and identifying certain antimicrobial compounds produced by various beneficial bacteria in controlling many harmful plant pathogens. The goal of my project was to test various strains of bacteria against four of the most commonly found destructive mould species involved in significant Canadian crop loss. These are Verticillium dahliae, Rhizopus stolonifer, Fusarium sambucinum and Alternaria solani.

My role in Dr. Avis’ lab involved growing each of the moulds with a hypothesized beneficial bacteria strain to determine if the bacteria produced any antagonistic compounds. After precipitating and drying these compounds, they were run through an LC-MS (liquid chromatography-mass spectrometer) to quantitatively determine the presence of these antimicrobial compounds.

I-CUREUS has allowed me to learn and experience new things at university outside of the typical classroom setting. This project has reinforced and put into practice the theory I’ve learned from my chemistry, microbiology and analytical chemistry courses. I’ve also gained experience with typical equipment found in a microbiology laboratory such biosafety cabinets, incubators, centrifuges and rotary evaporators.  My organizational, time-management and critical thinking skills have also been improved upon during this new experience. I am truly grateful towards I-CUREUS and Dr. Avis for this valuable opportunity!