Research Project | 2022

Comparisons in Patterns of Antibiotic Resistance Bacteria Between Urban and Non-urban Populations of Dark-Eyed Juncos (Junco hyemalis)


Awardee: Carolyn Xue

Bio: Carolyn Xue is a master’s student in Evolutionary Medicine program in the Yeh Lab at UCLA’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She received her B.S. in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University, where she worked for a veterinary pathologist and was inspired to learn more about fields that investigate both animal and human health. She later received a Fulbright fellowship to research the spread of the zoonotic disease cryptosporidiosis from forest buffalo in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park. She hopes to promote ideas on One Health, work in preserving biodiversity, and grow her interests in art and science.

Project summary: The global spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria is a growing public health concern, and it’s important to study wildlife pathways of transmission that can make antibiotic resistant bacteria so widespread. Birds in particular can serve as both indicators and agents of dissemination of antibiotic resistant bacteria from anthropogenic sources due to their feeding behaviors, mobility, and some species’ proximity to urban environments. Through comparing rates of antibiotic resistant bacteria found in the dark-eyed junco in both urban and non-urban environments, the widespread effects of urbanization and its disruptions to environmental microbiomes can be quantified.