Katherine Chen

Characterization of lipid droplet, nitric oxide, and cytokine production in primary macrophages from mice susceptible to Mycobacterium tuberculosis

A hallmark of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) infection in humans is a latency period where the bacteria remain dormant in granulomas. Lipid droplets within macrophages, a component of these granulomas, are hypothesized to be a source of energy for Mtb. Research suggests that lipid droplet formation may be mediated by large quantities of nitric oxide produced by infected macrophages. This project aims to characterize lipid droplet formation and nitric oxide production in macrophages from C3HeB/FeJ mice in the context of TLR stimulation, IFN-, and infection with Mycobacterium marinum, a close genetic relative of Mtb. I will also investigate whether enhanced IFN- and IL-10 production, cytokines believed to interfere with Mtb killing, is a general property of activated C3HeB/FeJ macrophages. Understanding Mtb dormancy will aid development of newer or more effective antibiotics for the treatment of infected patients.

Message to Sponsor

Being part of the Stanley Lab has strengthened and encouraged my interest in scientific investigation, and I am extremely fortunate to be part of the undergraduate research community at UC Berkeley. The SURF/Rose Hills fellowship is an exciting opportunity for me to concentrate on a project of my own and contribute to Mtb research. I sincerely thank my mentor Jonathan Braverman, principal investigator Dr. Sarah Stanley, and the sponsors of the Rose Hills Foundation for supporting my development as a researcher.
  • Major: Microbial Biology
  • Sponsor: SURF Rose Hills fellow
  • Mentor: Sarah Stanley, Public Health