Area of Doctoral Study: Molecular Medicine
Undergraduate Institute: University of Richmond
Research Advisor: Eileen Barry, PhD – Center for Vaccine Development (UMB)
Description of Research
Shigella, a Gram-negative enteroinvasive bacterium, causes nearly 1 million deaths annually around the world. Shigella flexneri, the most common Shigella species, causes severe diarrhea and disproportionately affects children in developing countries. Children in these areas are more susceptible to Shigella induced morbidity and mortality due to malnourishment and frequent co-infection. We hypothesize that a live, attenuated bacterial vaccine can be administered orally to induce protective immunity in the target population. To test our hypothesis, we will utilize the live, attenuated Shigella flexneri vaccine (CVD1208S), which has shown promising results in phase I clinical trials. My project aims to determine gene expression profile in human epithelial cells following infection with wild type Shigella flexneri 2a and CVD1208S. This research will be used in conjunction with clinical trials to provide in vitro evidence for the vaccine’s effectiveness in the target population.