Cork teen wins BT Young Scientist for project which led to discovery of potential new antibiotic 5 months ago

Cork teen wins BT Young Scientist for project which led to discovery of potential new antibiotic

Wow, just wow.

Simon Meehan from Cork has taken home the top prize and the BT Young Scientist and Technology exhibition on Friday night.

The 15-year-old from Coláiste Choilm, Ballincollig was declared BT Young Scientist and Technologist of the Year at an awards ceremony in Dublin’s RDS.

His project titled 'Investigation into the Antimicrobial effects of both aerial and root parts of selected plants against Staphylococcus’ aureus', led to the discovery of a potential new antibiotic capable of beating antimicrobial resistant bacteria including MRSA.

Speaking about the winning entry, BT Young Scientist Judge and Chair of the Biological and Ecological Sciences Category Professor John O’Halloran, commented; "This is a really exciting project which explores the possibility of the blackberry leaf extract’s ability to control harmful bacteria.

"The unexpected findings deliver a unique approach to killing bacteria using natural plant active ingredients. The rigour of the approach adopted by Simon set his project apart from competitors and made him our overall winner.

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"Simon selected nine locally sourced plants such as asparagus, nettles and blackberries to test for the presence of chemicals which could potentially be used to control bacterial infection. The leaves of the blackberry plant were shown to contain a chemical which prevented the growth of different bacteria."

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