Nguyen, Hoangkim (Kay)

Kay is a second year trainee and is in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics.  Her research mentor is Dr. Kent Hill.  She received a B.S. degree in 2008 from UC Davis.

Mentor: Dr. Kent Hill

Research project:

African trypanosomes have been observed to form groups of cells within its insect host vector. In addition, cultivation of these parasites on semisolid agarose within the laboratory has also demonstrated their ability to form parasitic communities. My project aim is to investigate social motility behavior exhibited by African trypanosomes by both a candidate approach and a genetic screen. The lab has recently performed a proteome to isolate several putative flagella surface proteins. We hypothesize that these candidate proteins may be involved in social motility and will be generating RNAi knockdown mutants to investigate the role of these proteins in sensing. We will also be performing an RNAi genetic screen to enrich for social motility mutants through a novel sensing assay developed in our lab. With this study, we hope to discover novel insights into the molecular mechanism of social behavior in the first protozoan parasite to exhibit social motility as well as fundamental aspects of cell-cell communication.