SURF

Sarah Weng

Characterizing and Understanding the Initial Infection Profile of Mycobacterium tuberculosis and its Relationship to Systemic Dissemination

One of the leading causes of death by an infectious agent, Tuberculosis (TB) currently affects roughly 1/3 of the worlds population. However, a majority of these infected individuals carry a latent disease state within the lungs, and are asymptomatic. While it is widely known that the bacteria eventually infects macrophage cells within the lungs in order to actively propagate the disease, the first couple days following infection are less well understood. My project this summer will study an infected mouse model in order to characterize the initial infection profile of the bacteria. Furthermore, I hope to determine if the types of cells infected in the initial profile correlate with the chances of acquiring active systemic disease later in life. If successful, this new research has strong implications on novel treatment development.

Message to Sponsor

For me, becoming a SURF/Rose Hills research fellow has been both a very prestigious and very humbling honor. This fellowship will allow me to grow as a young scientist and conduct research on a project that I am passionate about and can call my own. More importantly, this summer will challenge me mentally and prepare me for my future scientific endeavors. While I am excited for the academic opportunity, I have been even more impressed with the potential of my peers. The best part of this experience has been recognizing the strong support from people, both on and off campus, for young minds to think, question, and create.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology, Economics
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Riley Lee, Public Health