Turning the tide on antibiotic resistance: how seaweed can be a medicine for the future
My name is Ailbhe McGurrin and I am a PhD researcher funded by the Irish Research Council Enterprise Partnership Scheme. My PhD project is in partnership between University College Dublin and Bantry Marine Research Station Ltd.
My research explores the medicinal and biotechnological properties of Irish seaweeds. Seaweeds are full of tiny chemicals as a defence mechanism that allows them to survive in the harsh environment of the sea. Scientists discovered that some of these chemicals could be useful for humans, as they had medicinal properties like being able to kill bacteria, or lower blood pressure. Chemicals from seaweed that can kill bacteria are particularly helpful for humans, as in recent years many standard antibiotic (bacteria-killing) medicines have stopped working due to evolving bacteria. In my research I study the Irish seaweed winged kelp, to analyse the potential for this seaweed to kill bacteria, which could be used as a medicine for an infection. This research is vitally important to protect against a future where 'superbugs' (bacteria which have evolved to survive all antibiotic medicines) will be a huge danger for humans.
Why Research Matters is a joint campaign by the Union of Students Ireland and the Irish Research Council that invites postgraduate students to submit a video explaining their research and why it matters.
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