Josh Messinger, Biochemistry '14 has received funding to support his Spring '13 project, "Evaluation of Recombination across Chlamydia Species". Funding was provided by the Larry Metzger, M.S. '87, Memorial Scholarship and the H&S Educational Grant Initiative
Currently, we are using Chlamydia as a model organism to explore the relationship it takes with its host and how it creates a “hostile takeover” of the host cell. The current project that I am working on explores how these organisms may be increasing the presence of host proteins that prevent the host from dying in the Chlamydia’s presence.
Stefan Haugen, Biochemistry ’13, received funding from the H&S Educational Grant Initiative to support his summer '12 research project, "Host-Pathogen relationship in fresh water amoeba”.
We will explore host-pathogen interactions of a closely related pathogen Parachlamydia acanthamoeba. Our three short-term goals are to:
- Develop cell culture assays to examine the growth of the bacteria in various host organisms. We hypothesize that Parachlamydia acanthamoeba are host adapted and will exhibit restricted growth in alternative amoeba lines.
- Determination of mechanism of apoptosis induction. We hypothesize that the amoeba strains will use a highly conserved caspase mediated signaling cascade for the induction of cell death.
- Examination of caspase inhibition to “rescue” amoeba from cell death. We hypothesize the blockade of the caspase signaling pathway will lead to amoeba cell survival and increased bacterial loads.
The ultimate outcome from these three goals will advance the long term goal of the Gondek lab in understanding factors secreted by Chlamydia which lead to host cell specialization.