Altering Antibiotics

Student in TCU high school program works on medicines of tomorrow.

(This article by Nicholas J. Ferrandino originally appeared in the 2017 issue of “Endeavors” magazine.)

Fascinated by medicine and eager to take part in her elementary school’s science fair, Afeefah Khazi-Syed designed a project on the health benefits of proper etiquette.

“My first science project was about how covering your mouth when you sneeze prevents the spread of germs,” said Khazi-Syed. “I had a balloon filled with confetti to mimic sneezing, and I would pop the balloon, and all the confetti would spread like how germs would be spreading.”

Photo of Afeefah Khazi-Syed

Afeefah Khazi-Syed, a senior at Harmony School of Innovation in Fort Worth, examines a petri dish on April 24, 2017 in a TCU Physics lab where she works under the tutelage of TCU professors Yuri Strzhemechny and Anton Naumov. (Photo by Glen E. Ellman/TCU Magazine)

From that fifth-grade endeavor, the graduating high school senior has moved on to exploring silver nanoparticles and carbon nanotubes in a program at TCU.

With a zeal to develop medicines to fight dangerous bacteria such as E. coli, Khazi-Syed has worked under the guidance of two professors participating in TCU’s Research Apprentices Program since 2015. The program in the College of Science & Engineering matches talented high school students with professors in physics, astronomy and chemistry.

Read more about Afeefah’s research apprenticeship at TCU in “Endeavors magazine.