SURF

Michael Appel

Deciphering the Mechanisms by which Bacillus Megaterium provides infection resistance for Caenorhabditis elegans from Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Caenorhabditis elegans is a widely studied bacterivorous nematode that is typically grown on one specific strain of E. coli as its standard food source for experiments. However, in nature the worm encounters almost endless varieties of bacterial food sources and establishes a much different microbiota than those grown in our sterile lab environments. Our lab is attempting to characterize this yet unknown normal mircobiota of C. elegans and to understand how different bacteria may provide benefits for the worm. So far our lab has identified two soil isolates that seem to provide the worm with protection from subsequent infection by the pathogenic bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This summer I will be working to characterize the interactions between C. elegans and one of these isolates, Bacillus megaterium, and will attempt to decipher the mechanisms by which this bacteria provides the worm with protection from infection.

Message to Sponsor

The most important part of the SURF/Rose Hills fellowship to me is the experience. I will be applying to graduate programs next year and this summer will give me an idea of what full time research on a stipend will feel like. I also feel that the mentoring and aid with our projects and presentations provide a unique opportunity to learn from each other as well as more experienced students. Additionally, the monetary aid from this fellowship allows me to participate in full time research when I would otherwise be attempting to save money for the following school year.
  • Major: Microbial Biology
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation