Commencement 2008
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Commencement 2008

Christopher Allen, Ph.D.Microbiology & ImmunologyMentor: Alfredo Torres, M.D., Ph.D.I investigated changes inStreptococcus pneumoniaegene expression undermodeled microgravity as aanalogue for space flight. Inaddition, low-shear stressaffected properties of E. coliwhich cause Crohn’sDisease.

Maria Natividad Cajimat, Ph.D.Microbiology & ImmunologyMentor: Charles Fulhorst, D.V.M., Ph.D.I studied the geneticdiversity of the arenavirusesnative to the Americas.These results will be usefulin the development of rapid,accurate detection assaysfor arenaviral hemorrhagicfevers and genetic criteria todistinguish betweenarenavirus species.

Tonya Colpitts, Ph.D.Microbiology & ImmunologyMentor: Robert Davey, Ph.D.Mosquitoes transmit manydeadly viruses to humans. Iidentified mosquito proteinsthat aid in virus entry andinfection. Understandingthese may help preventinfection by these viruses.

Shannan Rossi, Ph.D.Experimental PathologyMentor: Peter Mason, Ph.D.West Nile viruses withmutations in the NS2A genepersistently infect cellswithout killing them or adultmice. These viruses do notlead to strong host antiviralresponses because cellscannot recognize the mutantvirus, producing persistent,nonpathogenic infections.

Peter Szaniszlo, Ph.D.Microbiology & ImmunologyMentor: Istvan Boldogh, Ph.D.Gene expressionmicroarray technology canbe used to examine cellfunction. I showed thatRNA amplification canprovide meaningful datausing only a few cellspresent in a target tissue.

Rene Vasquez, Ph.D.Microbiology & ImmunologyMentor: Lynn Soong, M.D., Ph.D.Worldwide 20 million peoplesuffer from leishmaniasis. Anaturally produced, immunerelatedprotein, CXCL10 wasadministered to mice infectedwith the parasite Leishmaniaamazonensis. This treatmenttriggered a stronginflammatory response thathelped clear the parasite.

Nanchaya Wanasen, Ph.D.Microbiology & ImmunlogyMentor: Lynn Soong, M.D., Ph.D.I studied how the parasiteLeishmania amazonensis evadeshost defenses including antibodyproducing cells, L-argininepathways, and chemokines usinga parasite-derived CCR5-likemolecule. Results provide newinsights into the complexinteractions between the parasiteand host and will be valuable inthe development of newtherapies

Sungyong Won, Ph.D.Microbiology & ImmunologyMentor: Shinji Makino, D.V.M., Ph.D.I developed a reversegenetics system for RiftValley fever virus to identifythe functions of its viralproteins. Several viralproteins were unnecessaryfor virus replication. The viralNSm protein suppressesvirus-induced cell death.

Michael Woods, Ph.D.Experimental PathologyMentor: Juan Olano, M.D.Rocky Mountain spotted feveris a severe bacterial infectionin humans. Bacterial and hostresponses that contribute tothe disease process wereidentified. Our work gives usa better understanding of thedisease process, and maylead to improved treatmentsof severe infections.

Michele Zacks, Ph.D.Experimental PathologyMentor: Nisha Garg, Ph.D.I characterized thepathogenic mechanism ofthe protozoan T. cruzi.Depletion of the cell surfaceprotein-linkedglycosylphosphatidylinositolresulted in growth anddevelopment defects of theprotozoan.

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