Student Spotlight: Fatima Herrera

Student Spotlight: Fatima Herrera

Our student spotlight shines on Fatima Herrera, who recently won an award for an outstanding research presentation at the 2022 National Diversity in STEM Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Herrera’s presentation was on the “Identification of the Bacteriophage Resistance Mechanisms in the Dental Pathogen, Streptococcus mutans.”

Herrera conducted research with Associate Professor Joshua Thomson at Detroit Mercy Dental.

One of the focuses was to determine the potential for bacteriophage therapy to prevent cavities in kids by specifically targeting and killing the dental bacterial pathogen, Streptococcus mutans. However, many strains of this organism are resistant to virus infection which could impact the usefulness of phage therapy.

The goal of the research was to determine the mechanisms of how S. mutans prevents being killed by bacteriophage, so scientists can better understand how to get around this problem when applying phage therapy.

Herrera was one of 110 graduate and undergraduate students nationally who were honored by the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). The conference was held from Oct. 27-29.

Fatima Herrera stands next to her presentation board