Dr. Tzuen-Rong (Jeremy) Tzeng

Biological Sciences
College of Science

Area of Research:
Pathogen and Host Interactions

149 Life Sciences Facility
Dr. Jeremy Tzeng

Proposed role for the Scholar as an undergraduate researcher in the Mentor's lab.
The Scholar will take on supervised research project alongside graduate students in my laboratory. Prior to conducting laboratory research in my lab, the Scholar will be required to take appropriate training courses provided by Clemson University, including Basic Course for Research Investigators, Responsible Conduct of Research, Bloodborne Pathogen, etc. In the initial research meetings, I will discuss the various ongoing/potential projects in my laboratory and their potential outcomes with the Scholar. The Scholar may choose to work alongside my graduate students on the various projects of interests before committing to a specific research project for the duration of the award. In addition to working on a specific research project, the Scholar is also expected to participate in a Clemson iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) Team project utilizing synthetic biology to solve real-life problems. By the end of the 3rd semester, the Scholar will be expected to take on the team leadership, assisting the graduate student advisor and me with coordinating the project activities, including training new team members, designing, and carrying out experiments.

Frequency and nature of the planned interactions between the Scholar and Mentor.
The Scholar will work side-by-side with a specific graduate student advisor daily and both of them will report to me at least weekly. During the weekly research meetings, the Scholar is expected to prepare a written report summarizing the research activities and present the results using PowerPoint slides. The Scholar is also expected to participate in the planning of experiments to be carried out in the following week.

Specific plans the Mentor will employ.
In addition to receiving training in laboratory safety and responsible conduct in research, the Scholar will train in basic and advanced biomedical laboratory skills, communication skills, both written and oral, critical thinking skills, leadership skills, etc. The Scholar is expected to understand the principle of procedure of all experimental protocols, and not merely be able to follow protocols. The Scholar will be asked to explain the principle of procedure during the experimental design and report stages. I will guide the Scholar through the experimental design process, the data analysis process, as well as the trouble-shooting process to strengthen the Scholar's critical thinking skills. The Scholar will be expected to prepare written reports and present research findings to his/her peers and at scientific conferences and symposiums, e.g., the American Society for Microbiology annual meetings and the South Carolina Branch meetings, etc., as well as contribute to the preparation of manuscripts. Finally, the Scholar is expected to take on a leadership role in training other undergraduate students. To date, the majority of the undergraduate students I have mentored pursued advanced graduate degrees, attended medical schools, and several of them were awarded Goldwater Fellowships.

Active undergraduate researchers in Mentor's lab.4

Total number of UGRS mentored to date:>30

The long term goal of my research is to develop prevention and therapeutic approaches to reduce, augment, enhance, or replace the use of antibiotics. The approaches my research team has taken are, but not limited, to 1) develop nanoparticles that display multivalent bacterial adhesin-specific receptors that mimic host cell surface, to facilitate bindings to their targeted bacteria resulting in the physical purging and/or hyperthermic inactivation of bacteria, 2) develop antimicrobial peptides that are target-specific to minimize the emergence of drug resistant bacteria, 3) develop surface coating/modification that exhibits antimicrobial property, 4) identify nutraceutical compounds that exhibit antimicrobial activities but with low host toxicities, 5) purify bacterial efflux pump inhibitors from natural sources to facilitate the effective treatment of multi-drug-resistant pathogens, and 6) develop microcantilever- or microfluidic chip-based biosensors for detection of pathogens.