Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Daniel Lucero
PORTALES--An Eastern New Mexico University graduate student was selected as
a finalist for the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) UMI
Distinguished Master's Thesis Award. Jonathan Burgos was selected out of 21
nominees as one of the five finalists. Jonathan's title of his thesis was
"Molecular Microbial Ecology of Multiple Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria."
In his thesis he discussed how resistant to antibiotics isolated bacteria
from dairy topsoil used in dairy farms are and how it affects older farms
compared to newer farms. He also tried to determine the molecular reason for
antibiotic resistance. According to Burgos, "I determined that the bacteria
were multiple antibiotic resistant to four antibiotics (chlormpheniol,
nalidixic acid, tetracycline, and penicillin) and that there was no
correlation between antibiotic resistance and dairy farm age."
Burgos, who received his undergraduate degree from Susquehanna University in
Central Pennsylvania, said he noticed a change in the people when he moved
from the east to the southwest. "Everyone was friendly; professors always
had time to answer questions, and, above all, I got the chance to grow as an
When asked who influenced him at Eastern, Burgos said, "Dr. Manuel Varela.
His vast knowledge made me work harder than I had ever worked before." While
working for his master's, Burgos said Dr. Varela "would quiz me on a regular
basis to keep me on track of everything." Burgos added, "In addition to
teaching me factual knowledge and protocols, he taught me that in life
NOTHING is impossible."
Burgos said other Eastern people who influenced him were Dr. Zhiming Liu,
assistant professor of biology; Dr. Marvin Lutnesky, chair of the Department
of Biology; and Dr. Phil Shelly, dean of the Graduate School, "because they
were always available when I needed help and always could answer my
Currently, Burgos is working on his Ph.D. in microbiology at State
University of New York in Buffalo, N.Y.
As for his thesis, he was excited about learning it was selected as one of
the finalists. "I could not fathom the fact that other people actually liked
my work other than my professors and me."
The next step for his thesis, Burgos noted, is trying to get it published
sometime next year. He is also keeping his fingers crossed that he is the
winner of the WAGS/UMI Distinguishing Master's Thesis Award - which will be
announced in March.
For more information, contact Dr. Varela at 505-562-2464.