PhD student researching persistent bacteria
Photograph of Mandy with a bacterial dragon.

Fengyi (we call her Mandy) is from Dalian in the North East of China, but she has lived in numerous countries. After living in Switzerland for three years, Mandy left for Melbourne to do her degree at Monash. Circumstances changed and Mandy transferred to Newcastle to complete her degree in Biomedical Sciences. During this, Covid struck and so Mandy fled to Germany. After all this Mandy achieved a Newcastle degree having spent only six months in Newcastle. However, on finishing her degree Mandy did an internship with Chien-Yi (Davy) Chang and liked it so much she decided to do a PhD with him. Davy had recently arrived in Newcastle from Bradford where he had started to work with my friend and fellow City fan, Professor Steve Rimmer. Davy has long had an interest in persistent bacteria, which are those that, while not formally resistant to antibiotics, hang around a long time and can eventually reproduce when environmental conditions change. Mandy is working in this area imaging bacteria with dyes so she can obtain high-resolution images using techniques like dSTORM. It stands for direct stochastic optical reconstruction microscopy. I bet you're glad you asked. Anyway, it's what's called super-resolution microscopy, which means that it is even more super than the best optical microscopes. But to image bacteria, she needs dyes, which can be added to antibiotics. We've even got some cool polymers that Steve sent us! Anyway, it's all very high-tech, and we are really lucky that Newcastle has such a great Bioimaging Unit. Mandy is doing all this and more! We're very lucky to have her working with us. Mandy is pictured here with a dragon made up of E. coli containing a green fluorescent protein plasmid. The bacteria are illuminated with light in a pre-designed pattern (here a dragon) and they fluoresce. It is a research tool, not a toy, but Mandy still can play with it. It's the Chinese year of the dragon, so who is going to deny her?

Dr Chien-Yi Chang

Newcastle University Bioimaging Unit

Professor Steve Rimmer

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