When talking about research, it is important to recognize that it takes loads of time. You need to collect enough information to prove your experiment as a positive product as well as making sure that there are no outside variables affecting your experiment. When it comes to science, there are many different techniques to interpret results. Finding the correct technique to use is one of the most time consuming aspects in this field of study. Within our project, great strides have been taken to finally push our experiment forward. Before entering this research competition, Dr. Rizzo introduced me to her area of study for one whole semester prior. During that one semester only 1 batch of plates (about 15 surfaces) were able to be tested, with only 1 positive result. Waiting almost 4 months for just 1 positive result was not very ideal for us, especially in the demanding market of medicine. Finally, Dr. Melkonian, who tests our surfaces at a nearby college, was able to find an ideal procedure that is a faster and more effective way to test for antimicrobial effects. With this new finding, we were able to make 5 new formulations that were positive against fighting a common bacteria of the skin called S. aureus. Next, it was important for us to link antimicrobial surfaces with protection against UV light. This led our focus to turn to the positive results we achieved against bacteria and test those specific mixtures to be able to achieve double the benefits.
Testing for UV protection was tough since there are not many experiments that provide insight on a simple way to carry out this research. We knew that we needed color changing beads, which changed to a fluorescent color in the presence of UV light. The UV light would be provided by a UV light lamp which was taken from one of the labs. The first thought was to place the color-changing beads inside a ziplock bag and cover a small portion of the outside of the bag in our formulation. This was tricky since most of the formulations were liquid at room temperature. This caused them to run off the bag and a new idea emerged. What if we used clear scotch tape and boxed off a square as a border so the oils wouldn’t run? This idea is our latest test and actually worked a lot better, but still some of the oils ran in certain directions. Our latest question is figuring out a new procedure to test against UV light, some ideas may be sticking with a petri dish instead of a plastic bad. In all, we found that the oils used with our butters that concluded to be active against bacteria, were also active against UV light.
In the next couple of months, we will continue you to make new formulations as well as improved procedures. It is also important that we test all components of the mixtures alone first, to see if they have a better or worse effect then when they are added to a mixture. If the oil or butter has worse effects within the mixture than on its own, why could this be?
I am excited to find more new and exciting results and push our results to the population for others to start using a more organic approach to medicine.