Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Siddharth Chittaranjan L&S Sciences

Comparative Dual RNA-Seq Transcriptome Profiling of Host-Pathogen Interactions During Chlamydia Trachomatis Infection of Human Primary Endocervical Cells

Microbes pose a wide spectrum of nonpathogenic and pathogenic challenges for the immune system. The encounters are governed by the interactions between the bacteriums adaptations and the hosts ability to mount a protective immune response. Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) is an especially unique pathogen as the infections it causes in the genital tract are typically asymptomatic. While this suggests that Ct possesses an effective set of tools to cloak itself as a lesser threat to the immune system, these tools still vary in success, as Ct strains elicit different immune responses depending on the cell type the bacterium infects. Hence, I propose to use a new technology called dual RNA-seq to analyze how human primary cells from patients vary in their response to infection with Ct and determine factors that distinguish successful immune responses from unsuccessful ones. Overall, by tracking Ct and host genes simultaneously, this data could lead to preventative strategies by giving us the chance to interrogate the disease-causing mechanisms of Ct.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to thank the Pergo Fund for funding my SURF experience. Through this support, I was able to move out of my comfort zone and fully engage with my experimental system, with all of its quirks and nuances. The data collection work I completed over the summer lays the foundation for my senior thesis, as I can now direct my academic year towards data analysis---a stage filled with potential discoveries. I cannot wait for what this year has in store, and I am grateful to the SURF program and Pergo Fund for fueling an opportunity that will continue to catalyze my intellectual growth into the future.
Profile image of Siddharth Chittaranjan
Major: MCB (Immunology) and English
Mentor: Deborah Dean
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
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