Simon Meehan, 15 years old, of Coláiste Choilm, Ireland just recently won first place in the 54th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition after finding that “chemicals found within blackberries could form antibiotics” efficient in killing Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) a bacteria popular for being resistant to antibiotics.
As a refresher, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs”, have the ability to develop a resistance to the medicine that is given to patients. So, instead of healing the patient, as is the desired effect, the bacteria within the body will mutate and change in order to beat the medication.
And get this: he says his herbalist grandfather was the inspiration that kept him going (he even kept a framed picture beside him where he worked)!
“I can’t tell you how I feel, out of my mind, I’m dreaming!” he said after his win was announced.
The wise youngster said, “People are going deep into the Amazon rainforest looking for new antibiotics. But I’m a 15-year-old boy who found this down his own back garden. That has got to be amazing.
I feel, without disrespecting the scientific community too much, that there should be some conclusions from this. We are over-thinking science in too many ways.”
We absolutely agree with you, Simon!
Professor John O’Halloran, who helped judge the competitors, stated:
“This is a really amazing project which explores the possibility of the blackberry leaf extracts’ ability to control harmful bacteria. The unexpected findings deliver a unique approach to eliminating bacteria using natural plant active ingredients. The rigour of the approach adopted by Simon set his project apart from rivals and made him our overall winner.”
Congratulations young man. Once again, we agree that the scientific community tends to overthink too much. Our bodies and nature have a remarkable ability to remain in perfect harmony if we set them up for success.