Brown, Taylor

Taylor is in the Immunity, Microbes, & Molecular Pathogenesis home area of the MBIDP. She joined the CMB training program in 2016. Her research mentor is Dr. Elissa Hallem. She received a Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics B.S. degree, with a minor in Biomedical Research, from UCLA in 2015. She has participated in research programs such as Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (HHMI EXROP), MIT Summer Research Program (MSRP), and Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC).

Mentor: Dr. Elissa Hallem

Research project:

Deciphering sensory cues, neurons, and genes essential for development and infectivity in parasitic nematodes

Skin-penetrating parasitic nematodes infect their hosts primarily through the skin of the feet. They then navigate through the blood stream to the lungs, where they are coughed up and swallowed, ultimately establishing an infection in the small intestine. Upon skin penetration, the developmentally arrested, non-feeding IJs activate: they resume development and begin feeding inside the host. Activation is thought to be triggered by sensory cues, but this process remains poorly understood. My preliminary data demonstrate that body temperature and carbon dioxide are required for activation of Parastrongyloides trichosuri, demonstrating that chemosensory cues play a central role in nematode infection and development. I will now identify additional host cues required for activation, and elucidate the molecular and cellular mechanisms of activation, through the following aims:

Aim 1: Test the hypothesis that detection of oxygen and NaCl contribute to activation.

Aim 2: Identify chemosensory neurons required for activation.

Aim 3: Identify genes and signaling pathways required for activation.