Microbiology and Immunology
Area of Doctoral Study: Microbiology and Immunology
Undergraduate Institute: University of California, Berkeley
Graduate Institute: Johns Hopkins University
Research Advisor: Ryan Pearson, Ph.D.
Description of Research
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that develops due to an uncontrolled immune response during infection. In the United States alone, sepsis is responsible for over 258,000 deaths yearly—more than prostate cancer, breast cancer, and HIV/AIDS combined. The pathophysiology of sepsis is complex and typically involves two competing immune responses: hyper-inflammation, characterized by the production of high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and immunosuppression, characterized by lymphocyte attrition and a state of immune paralysis that leaves patients vulnerable to secondary infections. Unfortunately, the standard of care for sepsis consists of antibiotics and intravenous fluids whose success as a treatment strategy is dependent on early identification and treatment for sepsis. Attempts to develop specific sepsis therapeutics have largely failed due to an inability to address the multiple redundant pathways that lead to sepsis. My project aims to develop rationally designed nanotechnologies that can modulate the immune responses in a clinically-relevant murine model of sepsis by directly blunting the pro-inflammatory cytokine production and temporally augmenting immune responses to overcome the immunoparalysis phenotype in innate immune cells during sepsis.