Ph.D. Candidate Molecular Pathogenesis
Van Es Hall 189
M.S. Food Safety
B.S. Medical Laboratory Sciences
I am working to understand how Cryptosporidium parvum infects host cells to cause disease. Cryptosporidium parvum is a waterborne parasite that causes cryptosporidiosis, a diarrheal disease affecting humans and livestock globally. Cryptosporidiosis is generally self-limiting; however, due to the absence of an effective drug therapy, the disease can become chronic and life threatening in those who are malnourished or immunocompromised. I expect that novel drug targets will be revealed through an enhanced understanding of C. parvum infection mechanisms.
My research focuses on the role of gliding motility during infection. Gliding motility has been observed in C. parvum though the mechanism is not understood. In a proposed gliding motility model, adhesive proteins are secreted, translocated, and shed from the parasite surface in a continuous motion that propels the parasite forward along the host cell surface (resulting in motility) and into the cell (resulting in host cell entry). I have developed a panel of reagents targeting putative adhesive proteins and sheddases and am currently working to determine their role during motility and host cell entry.