DUBUQUE, IOWA (January 16, 2020) — University of Dubuque is joining the push to mitigate one of the most critical public-health crises facing the world — antibiotic resistance — by participating in the Tiny Earth network.

Adam Kleinschmit, associate professor of biology, recently attended a week-long training to become a partner instructor in the Tiny Earth network. Founded by University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Jo Handelsman, Tiny Earth has a two-fold mission based upon its motto of “studentsourcing antibiotic discovery.” The network encourages students to pursue careers in science through real-world applicable laboratory and field research in introductory courses. Tiny Earth also seeks to address a worldwide threat — the diminishing supply of effective antibiotics — by tapping into the collective power of many student researchers concurrently tackling the same challenge.

To achieve its mission, Tiny Earth leverages a network of partner institutions where instructors learn the curriculum and integrate the research protocols in their lab-based courses at universities, colleges, and high schools. Student scientists hunt for novel antibiotic organisms in soil samples. It’s a global network that encompasses 19 countries and 44 US states plus Puerto Rico and Washington DC.

Kleinschmit plans to integrate the Tiny Earth research curriculum this spring into the laboratory section of UD’s microbiology course.

“Students will use local soil samples to screen for microbes that produce potentially novel antibiotics over a semester-long research project,” Kleinschmit said. “The training included pedagogical discussions for how to create an inclusive classroom environment to foster student success.”

Thirty-one instructors, including Kleinschmit, from the United States, Denmark, Italy, Mexico, and the Republic of Korea attended the intensive five-day training January 6-10 at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“Tiny Earth’s newest batch of partner instructors are an inspiring cohort of researchers and educators already bringing fresh ideas to Tiny Earth’s core mission of engaging undergraduate and high-school students in real discovery,” said Tiny Earth Science and Training Director Nichole Broderick.

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