The University of Valencia closes an international science dissemination project on antibiotic resistance for secondary school students

(From left to right). Carmen Baño, Elena Thibaut, Sergi Maicas, Belén Fouz, Elen
(From left to right). Carmen Baño, Elena Thibaut, Sergi Maicas, Belén Fouz, Elena G. Biosca, Hortensia Rico and Rosa Mochales.
Micromundo, a European project that is carried out in sixteen countries to bring scientific culture and biomedical research closer to pre-university educational levels and promote research vocation, has been closed today Thursday in its Valencian edition in the Charles Darwin Assembly Hall of the Burjassot-Paterna Campus, with the attendance of more than 700 people. Between February and April of this year, university students and teachers from the Department of Microbiology and Ecology have travelled to twenty-six Valencian institutes and colleges where they have led experiments to discover new antibiotic-producing bacterial strains.

In the first phase, at the end of June 2022, 32 secondary school teachers began their own training program in collaboration with CEFIRE-CTEM (Generalitat Valenciana). In a second phase, in November, 48 students from the faculties of Biology and Pharmacy completed specific training on the program. In each of the secondary education centres, the groups made up of 2-4 university students or MITAS (MIcromón Training ASsistant) and a teacher or MIPI (MIcromón Partner Intructor) have carried out five sessions in collaboration with the teaching staff of the centre, in the that high school students have learned about the problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics and its socioeconomic impact, and have assimilated various experimental methodologies.

The closing ceremony was attended by, from the University of Valencia, J. Javier Navarro, director of the Permanent Training and Educational Innovation Service; Hortensia Rico, dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy; Rosa Mochales, director of the Equality Unit; Carmen Bañó, dean of the Faculty of Biological Sciences; Manel Perucho, director of the Language and Language Policy Service; Elena Thibaut, director of CEFIRE CTEM (Valencian Government); Belén Fouz, coordinator of Micromón 22/23 and Sergi Maicas, coordinator of Micromón UV.

Small World Initiative is an international scientific project that arose at Yale University (USA) in 2012 as a strategy to promote a vocation for scientific research among young people and deals with a pressing health problem such as the need for to find new effective antibiotics against infectious diseases. The success in its country of origin led the project to expand in the following years to numerous countries, including Spain, where it began to be developed in 2017 through the Micromundo@Spain network, made up of 30 universities, and of which the University of Valencia is co-founder.

The Micromón@Universitat de València 2022/23 project began in June 2022 with a training course for secondary school teachers in collaboration with the CEFIRE-CTEM of the local Education, Culture and Sports Department of the Valencian Government. In November, 48 students from different Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees attached to the faculties of Biology and Pharmacy received specific training on the world of super batteries and bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

The professors of the Department of Microbiology and Ecology (in cooperation with Plant Biology/Edaphology and Computer Science) have supervised the project since the 17/18 academic year, with the involvement of more than 300 monitors throughout these years. Subsequently, the students acted as guides in carrying out experiments in 26 institutes. The Micromón@Universitat de València network currently integrates 60 Valencian educational centres.

In addition, the activity has been expanded this course with the FagoVal project, dedicated to obtaining active bacteriophages against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, coordinated by Elena G. Biosca.

International consortia

The Micromón-Universitat de València project is a member of international (Small World Initiative, Tiny Earth) and Spanish-Portuguese (MicroMundo) consortia. At the UV, it is co-funded by the Permanent Training and Educational Innovation Service, the Equality Unit and the Language and Language Policy Service. In addition, it is endorsed by the Spanish Society of Microbiology and the National Antibiotic Resistance Plan and its dissemination is in charge of the Scientific Culture Unit-Chair for the Dissemination of Science of the University of Valencia.

Annex photo caption : (From left to right): Esther Carbó, Jaume García Segura, Manel Perucho, Belén Fouz, Elena González Biosca, J.Navarro, Sergi Maicas, Jesús Zueco, Roberto Gozalvo and Alfonso Navarro.