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As a second-generation CMU student, Nathan Holmes was no stranger to the campus and community at Central.
But he wasn’t expecting the amount of opportunities he was given during his time here. In his three years at CMU so far, Nathan has studied abroad twice, worked as an Honors teaching assistant and helped conduct research in Dr. Benjamin Swarts’ lab.
It was there that Nathan’s idea for his Honors capstone project was born.
“The project has tested my abilities to think critically and to collaborate with faculty and fellow students and has shown me the amazing opportunities CMU has to offer and how the pioneering work being done can have a real impact on the world,” he said.
Nathan’s project, titled “Synthesis and Evaluation of a Next-Generation Fluorogenic Probe for Detecting Mycobacteria,” deals with diagnosing diseases such as tuberculosis more effectively.
“In laymen’s terms, the overall goal of my project is to develop a novel compound that is expected to improve the diagnosis of tuberculosis in low-resource settings,” said Nathan.
If successful, he said, his research could change the way tuberculosis is diagnosed, especially in low income areas or underdeveloped nations.
Currently, said Nathan, the available diagnostic process for tuberculosis patients results in a high rate of false positives and can take several days to deliver results. If his method is successful, it would provide a quick and efficient method solely intended for diagnosing tuberculosis.
Nathan was awarded a summer scholars research grant to continue his work over the summer at CMU and has plans to publish his research once finalized.
He said that working in Dr. Swarts’ lab has given him the resources, support and drive needed to finish his research.
“Working with Dr. Swarts is amazing. He is the most knowledgeable professor I have encountered here at CMU,” Nathan said. “He is with me every step of the way and is always free for any questions that I might have. Dr. Swarts helps confirm that I have my desired product and points me to journals to find current methods if a certain reaction doesn't work as planned.”
Nathan plans to attend medical school after finishing his undergraduate degree.
He is a member of the Pre-Medicine and Osteopathic Society on campus.
Nathan is an Honors teaching assistant and a research assistant in Dr. Benjamin Swarts’ lab.