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David Lin Wins Thesis Award for Antibiotic Resistance Research

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When David Lin came to Cal State Fullerton to pursue a graduate degree in biology, he was hoping to gain valuable research experience to help him move on to a doctoral program.

The alumnus gained much more by working in the lab of Marcelo E. Tolmasky, professor of biological science, where he conducted antibiotic resistance research. Through Tolmasky’s mentorship, the support of other professors and his coursework, he developed solid research skills, learned how to read scientific literature, present his work at regional and national conferences and teach science to freshmen.

These experiences not only helped him write his thesis on the public health problem of antibiotic-resistant infections and further his education, but also earned him the 2015 Giles T. Brown Outstanding Thesis Award. Amy Kremer, who earned a master’s degree in American studies in 2014, is the other honoree.

“The faculty, my classes and my experiences during my time at CSUF all contributed greatly to my thesis work,” said Lin. “It’s an honor to receive this award. It’s great to get research and science recognized, and I appreciate that my hard work and passion for science is acknowledged by others.”

In 2014, Lin earned his master’s degree in biology, and last fall, began his doctoral studies in microbiology and immunology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is studying how viruses, specifically dengue and hepatitis C virus, replicate.

Lin lauded Tolmasky, the University’s 2010 Outstanding Professor, for teaching him how to “do good science, how to ask the right questions and which experiments would answer them.” During his graduate education, he won accolades and honors for his research, including the California State University 2014 Don Eden Graduate Award. Part of his thesis work was highlighted in two articles, published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

While working in Tolmasky’s lab, Lin became interested in antibiotic resistance research due to the serious threat to global health and the dramatic rise in antibiotic resistant infections.

“Our ability to treat these infections is completely dependent on the development of new antibiotics, and in the last decade, very few new antibiotics have been approved for use as treatment,” said Lin, who earned his bachelor’s degree in biotechnology from UC Davis and worked as a microbiologist and scientist in industry before starting graduate school.

“My thesis work focused on finding new compounds that inhibit the ability of these bacteria to inactivate one antibiotic called amikacin. Unfortunately, resistance to amikacin has become a major problem. The end goal of most research is to, in some way, benefit humans. While the results of my thesis don’t completely fix the issue of antibiotic resistance, I hope that future work can build off of the findings and contribute to global health.”