Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
TEACRS Alumna - 2014
I joined the TEACRS Program after completing my PhD in Immunology at the Sackler School, Tufts University.
As a TEACRS fellow, I worked in the laboratory of Andrew Camilli where I focused on factors involved in biofilm formation and colonization of the nasopharynx by Streptococcus pneumoniae. This gram-positive bacterial pathogen typically colonizes the upper respiratory tract asymptomatically, but can also cause various illnesses such as acute otitis media, pneumonia and meningitis. As a consequence of these pneumococcal diseases, approximately one million children, primarily in developing parts of the world, die each year. Since colonization of the mucosal surface of the nasopharynx by S. pneumoniae occurs prior to the development of the aforementioned diseases, the major aim of these studies will be to understand the pneumococcal factors required for colonization and biofilm formation with the purpose of identifying potential points of therapeutic intervention.
As part of the TEACRS training program, I taught an Honors Seminar course called Popular Pathogens Unravelled in the Spring of 2012 at the U Mass - Boston.
I am now a tenure-track faculty member in the Biology Department at Towson University in Maryland.
To learn more about Mara's career, visit her Towson webpage.