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Maryam Abdel-Azim

Central Bucks High School East
Doylestown, PA

Targeting Signaling Molecules of P. aeruginosa by Using Mucin as an Anti-Quorum Sensing Drug: A Novel Design To Evaluate Efficacy in the Context of Multidrug Resistance

Maryam Abdel-Azim researched how hindering the molecular dialogue process among bacteria could serve as an alternative to antibiotics. She manipulated compounds to reduce cell communication, thereby preventing bacteria from forming biofilm, which shields the bacteria from antibiotics and hampers its effectiveness. This methodology can help reduce antibiotic resistance.

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Maryam Abdel-Azim, 17, of Doylestown , investigated ways to disrupt quorum sensing (QS), one method cells use to communicate, in the harmful bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa, for her Regeneron Science Talent Search cellular and molecular biology project.

Quorum sensing is one way bacterial colonies send signals to nearby cells to collect and share information. In this case, QS detects when levels are high enough to form biofilms (similar to plaque that leads to tartar). Biofilms facilitate the harmful effects of disease and protect the bacteria from antibiotics, creating drug resistance. Maryam has studied this process for years, starting with experiments in her basement laboratory. Then she connected with a research laboratory group with whom she developed experiments to explore compounds that prevent QS. Maryam believes, and her research showed, that by manipulating compounds found in mucus, QS can be decreased or prevented, opening the door to developing drug alternatives to antibiotics.

2024 Science Talent Search finalist Maryam Abdel-Azim
Society for Science/Chris Ayers Photography

Maryam is a varsity tennis player and student government rep at Central Bucks High School East.Her parents are Gamal Abdel-Azim and Sahar Sherif. She wants to one day lead interdisciplinary teams toward eradicating antibiotic resistance.

2024 Science Talent Search finalist Maryam Abdel-Azim
Society for Science/Chris Ayers Photography

Beyond the Project

As founder and president of her school’s STEM journal club, Maryam worked to foster a space where students could discuss and present their innovative research.

FUN FACTS: In her spare time, Maryam enjoys drawing henna art, and has a photo album of the original designs she has created for friends, family, and members of her community.

Illustration of 2024 STS finalist by Amy Wike
Illustration by Amy Wike