STEAM Towards a Healthier World

Keerthana Thammana

Redmond HS, WA

Senior (2019-2020)

Career Goals:

I want to pursue a career in bioengineering, an interdisciplinary field that combines my interests in biology and technology, as its many prospective applications are solutions to real world problems. I want to delve deeper into this field and add to the ever-growing scientific knowledge through new research and applications.


What did you learn from this course?

I learned about the importance of personalized medicine in order to encourage wellness and prevent disease, and how the future of healthcare is shifting toward this. It was really interesting to learn about the different parts that play a role in collecting personalized data, from the environment to the microbiome. I also enjoyed learning more about the different careers in systems biology.


What advice do you have for future Ambassadors?

Ask questions! There are a lot of guest speakers and a lot of new concepts introduced, so make sure you understand everything. Also, talk to the professionals - their career paths and their research are extremely interesting and inspiring!

– Showcase Project –

"BAMage: Bacteria, Antibiotics, Microbiome"

Project Team Member: Sophie Liu


Who/What inspired this project?

We were inspired by Dr. Nitin Baliga and Dr. Sean Gibbons to explore the topic of antimicrobial resistance and the human microbiome. These are two topics that are being more researched because of the roles they play in our health.

Here is the link to our Github site with the project source code:

The Antibiotic Resistance Animation communicates the idea that no matter how many types of antibiotics are used, the cycle of using antibiotics and then having large amounts of resistance will loop infinitely. The starting frame represents the different kinds of bacteria with different genomes using different colors. The circles represent the bacteria which disappear after they generate in the beginning but are treated with antibiotics. However, one circle will remain to demonstrate it's antibiotic resistance, and it propagates that capability other 99 bacteria which all have the same color as the original survivor.

The Microbiome Animation depicts how modern diets can negatively impact the biodiversity of our microbiome which is communicated through the varying darknesses of the background. When certain foods are eaten, such as those with some amounts of antibiotics, the biodiversity decreases. However, when other foods are eaten, new species can be introduced, increasing the biodiversity again. This process is shown through the infinite loop. To keep a healthy microbiome, which is depicted as a lighter background, it is important to keep in mind about what we eat or ingest as well as other environmental and behavioral factors, as the microbiome plays a significant role in digestion and disease protection.

Who is your target audience?

Our target audience is the general public because antibiotics have been integrated into the daily lifestyles of almost everyone. Meat handling/farming, abuse of antibiotics in medical treatment, and fungicides are all common practices, and thus it is important we target our project to as many people as possible because we all have a hand in this issue.


As an Ambassador, how do you plan to share your message with your target audience?

We plan to share the message by a) putting it on the STEAM website, b) direct message (DM) big science accounts on Instagram and have them share our animation c) share it with friends and family.

Hopefully after seeing our animation, people will be inspired to choose their medications and products more wisely by doing more research on their own about how they can use antibiotics their lives.

Credits and Acknowledgements

Becky Howsmon, ISB - STEAM Supreme Leader

Amy Zamora, ISB - Researcher on antibiotic resistance in tuberculosis cases

Hari Koneru, Student

Dr. Nitin Baliga, ISB - SVP and Director of Institute for Systems Biology

Dr. Sean Gibbons, ISB - Microbiome Research at Gibbons Lab

Terrance Li, Student

Stuff to Check Out!

Fun video to check out for more information: