Maria Cardenas Alvarez

Position: Research Assistant, MICR 202L Teaching Assistant
Lab: Van Es 114
Office: Van Es 193
Program: Molecular Pathogenesis PhD
Advisor: Dr. Fisher

Graduate Student Profile

BS in Medical Laboratory Sciences with an emphasis on Clinical Microbiology and Micology from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia
MSc in Clinical Microbiology from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia.

Research Focus:
Our lab combines a diverse suite of genetic, biochemical, molecular, and genomic approaches with avariety of high-throughput host systems to address fundamental questions concerning how soil bacteria impact human health and agriculture.

My research examines Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, an emerging multi-drug resistant bacterium associated with a wide spectrum of life-threatening hospital acquired infections, especially among immune compromised patients. Onset of infection tends to occur late and often follows antibiotic therapy for prior, non-S. maltophilia infections. Importantly, the mortality rate (attributed to S. maltophilia) increases significantly if that prior antibiotic treatment included an agent to which S. maltophilia is resistant. In order to test this, we measured virulence toward Dictyostelium discoideum amoeba, Caenorhabditis elegans and juvenile Blaptica dubia roaches for several S. maltophilia isolates in the absence and presence of antibiotics that are common to the hospital setting, including vancomycin.

Departmental Involvement:
VMS Graduate Student Association

Contact Information:

LinkedIn: Maria Cardenas Alvarez