Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Da Kyung Jung L&S Sciences

Gut microbiota for E. faecalis Infection Resistance in C. elegans

The animal gastrointestinal tract is colonized by diverse microorganisms collectively termed the gut microbiota, of which bacteria are the most characterized. Gut bacteria play numerous roles in host physiology, from development to immune homeostasis. In recent years, there has been a significant rise in interest in understanding the role of gut microbiota in protecting the host from pathogen colonization. Past research has uncovered that gut microbiota can prevent pathogenic bacteria from colonizing the host gut by competing for resources, enhancing host immunity, or directly inhibiting pathogen proliferation. Yet, more research is required to better understand the modes in which gut bacteria help their hosts resist infections. I will take advantage of the Caenorhabditis elegans model to identify specific gut bacteria that increase host resistance to the pathogen Enterococcus faecalis, a bacterium responsible for many human infections. I hypothesize that common C. elegans gut microbiota members will confer protection against E. faecalis and increase survival. Identifying such strains will enable further examination of the mechanisms through which gut commensal bacteria prevent pathogenic infections.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you for your generosity in funding my research project. I have always wanted to spend a summer doing research full-time, and your donation has made it possible. I look forward to being able to share what I find!
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Major: MCB major, Global Public Health minor
Mentor: Michael Shapira
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
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