Leslie Chung-Lei Sheu

Regulation of macrophage phagosomal protein expression by Mycobacterium tuberculosis cell wall lipids

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb), along with other infectious diseases, has become a resurgent global concern, in part due to selection for drug-resistant strains in infected populations. M.tb is able to survive within macrophages (innate immune cells that should engulf and degrade foreign material) in compartments known as phagosomes by some unknown mechanism. This summer, I want to use quantitative mass spectrometry to study how specific cell wall glycolipids of M.tb manipulate phagosomal membrane protein expression in macrophage cells. By comparing protein regulation by two structurally similar but functionally very different glycolipids found in virulent and non-virulent mycobacterial species (ManLAM and PILAM, respectively), I hope to gain insight into mechanisms that make M.tb one of the most successful bacterial pathogens.

Message to Sponsor

Even as I was applying for the SURF fellowship, I felt like I was already becoming more of a real scientist by making my project timeline and searching the literature for relevant publications. I am very excited for the challenges and rewards of doing full-time summer research in a lab I have grown to love. SURF gives me the opportunity to fully involve myself in a project in a way that I can't do during the school year-I can finally be my own boss and work unrestrained by other commitments-kind of like a real grad student! On top of that, I get to expose myself to a wide range of projects in all sorts of disciplines through interaction with the other SURF fellows. This will definitely be a great summer with lots of learning experiences. I'm looking forward to it!
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Mentor: Carolyn Bertozzi, Chemistry