Featured Student: Chad Coarsey from Florida Atlantic University

If you subscribe to the Small World Initiative Facebook Group, you’ve probably seen many posts from Chad Coarsey, a bioengineering student at Florida Atlantic University. From Gram stains to agarose gels to extracts fluorescing under UV light, his posts are instructive and analytical, expressing the thrill of discovery-based research. Originally from North Carolina, Chad was drawn to FAU’s tropical climate, where he boasts of going to the beach between classes. Yet, things didn’t go so well at the beginning of college, when he was faced with a drug-resistant nosocomial infection that almost cost him his life. After a year long recovery, he became interested in understanding microbial virulence and the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance. He was determined to help combat the growing number of multi-drug resistant pathogens. In summer 2013, he took a microbiology course taught by Dr. Joseph Caruso and continued to do research with him, studying drug resistance in the human skin microbiota. When Dr. Caruso introduced Small World Initiative to FAU, he was thrilled to join the project. Chad, who has a congenital amputation of his left arm, developed his own aseptic technique allowing him to use only one hand. He feels that the independence he gets from the course has allowed him to become more efficient as a student and scientist, and has taught him patience. “Small World Initiative has sparked innovation in my academic life,” said Chad. In the future, he will be pursuing further research in the M.S. Bioengineering program at FAU, and plans to explore novel antibiotic-producer screening technologies.