Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Arushi Lahiri L&S Biological Sciences

Investigating Bacterial Defense Systems & Phage Subversion Mechanisms

The evolutionary arms race between viruses and bacteria has set the stage for evolving research about CRISPR and other bacterial defense mechanisms and viral responses. Yet, little has been done to map viral subversion genes/proteins to specific bacterial defense systems. The purpose of my research will be to explore the relationship between novel bacterial defense systems and responsive phage subversion strategies immunity. More specifically, I will be extracting these defense systems before running phage assays across a variety of E. Coli phages to evaluate the susceptibility—and lack thereof—of each phage to each defense system. Following this, I will conduct a phage genomic analysis to hopefully isolate candidate genes that may be responsible for subverting bacterial immunity. My project will conclude in additional phage assays to evaluate the efficacy of these predictions and determine whether co-expression vectors encoding for both phage encoded candidate genes and defense systems will offer previously non-viable phage resistance. Ultimately, I hope this work helps elucidate novel bacterial and phage defense systems and related mechanisms.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much for your generosity! I am thrilled to be able to continue my research into CRISPR and other bacterial defense systems to hopefully improve future therapeutics. This would certainly not be possible without your help—I really appreciate it.
Major: Biochemistry
Mentor: Jennifer Doudna
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
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