HRP SU23-18: Research Opportunity with Dr. Sivapriya Kailasan Vanaja

Project Mentor

Dr. Sivapriya Kailasan Vanaja
Department of Immunology

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description The primary focus of our research is to determine the mechanisms by which bacterial pathogens modulate host innate immune responses. Since innate immune responses play a crucial role in the clearance of infectious agents, it is natural that pathogens have developed strategies to inhibit the same. Our research aims to identify bacterial mechanisms that inhibit innate immune activation. The summer research opportunity will focus on identifying virulence factors of two enteric pathogens, Salmonella Typhimurium and Enterohemorrhagic E. coli, that can suppress a major innate immune pathway, the inflammasomes. The research strategy will involve working with bacterial mutants that lack specific virulence factors and determining their mode of action in innate immune cells such as macrophages.
Project Direction Once a virulence factor that is capable of suppressing innate immune responses is identified during the summer, this project will continue into the academic year with a focus on identifying the molecular mechanism of innate immune inhibition by that particular virulence factor. This will include determining the exact step in the innate immune pathway that is being suppressed, identifying the cell types where the suppression is occurring, and examining whether the virulence factor directly binds to innate immune components to interfere with their function.
Mentorship and Supervision A post doctoral fellow in the lab and I will provide initial training to the student and show how each experiment is performed. I will meet with the student at least twice a week to assess progress and provide feedback.
Student Qualifications Background in molecular biology, microbiology, and/or immunology through course work is preferred.
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: May 22 to July 28, 2023
Schedule: M-F, 9am-5pm will be preferred
Project Continuation Fall 2023, Spring 2024
Academic Year Time Commitment 3-9 hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity at The application deadline is Monday, January 30, 2023.

This application requires a cover letter, a resume or CV, science GPA, and a brief statement of research interests.