Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Chestnut Hill, MA
Linden Hu, MD, Adviser
I study the oral pathogen, P. gingivalis (PG), which causes periodontal disease. I am using transposon mutagenesis library-screening methods (Tn-seq) to explore the oxidative stress response in PG, which is applicable to the bacteria’s disease pathogenesis, general resilience and survival in the human oral microbiome. In the mouth, PG must tolerate exposure to oxygen although it is an anaerobic microbe; meaning it naturally grows in the absence of oxygen. For disease pathogenesis, PG must also successfully evade the host immune system, which releases hydrogen peroxide (a reactive oxygen species or ROS), as an antimicrobial agent. Exposure to either oxygen or hydrogen peroxide can cause what’s known as an oxidative stress condition in the cell, and my work focuses on understanding the processes that contribute to the oxidative stress tolerance of PG.
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