BS – Cornell University, 2006
DVM – The Ohio State University, 2010
3rd Year Doctoral Student
The Stearns-Kurosawa Lab studies the pathologic effects of bacterially produced Shiga toxins utilizing various in vivo models. Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) are a food-borne pathogen responsible for epidemic outbreaks of diarrhea around the globe. Most patients recover from STEC-induced hemorrhagic diarrhea without complication, but 5-15% of infected patients develop a potentially fatal thrombotic microangiopathy known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).
Our lab is developing a murine model of STEC infection via alteration of the colonic microenvironment to facilitate successful E. coli colonization with subsequent Shiga toxin-induced disease. My project is to optimize and characterize our novel model of STEC infection. In particular, we are focused on the impact of Shiga toxin on the gastrointestinal mucosal immune response, as the toxins are known to induce acute cytokine release from a variety of cell types in vitro but little is known about their in vivo effects. Delineation of the host immune response to STEC may identify novel therapeutic targets for the prevention of HUS or biomarkers that can differentiate diarrhea-only patients from future HUS patients at the time of presentation.