Allison Elizabeth Herceg


Presentation: 9:00 a.m.-10:15 a.m., Kennedy Union Ballroom



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Listeria monocytogenes is a prevalent food-borne pathogen, and a clear understanding of its pathogenesis can enhance our capability to treat infections. L. monocytogenes is ingested through contaminated foods, enters the intestinal lumen, and is able to spread throughout the rest of the body. While the pathogen spreads to tissues outside of the intestines, it resides in macrophages and travels through the bloodstream. It is currently understood that L. monocytogenes is able to disseminate into heart tissues from the intestines, however this aspect of infection is not clearly understood. A cardiotropic strain of L. monocytogenes, 07PF0776, that can cause life-threatening endocarditis has been isolated and can be used to understand pathogenesis in the heart. Dr. Erica Rinehart from Dr. Sun’s lab previously found that short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) have an effect on the pathogenesis of both strains 10403s (a commonly used laboratory strain) and 07PF0776, but there are distinct differences in bacterial growth and efficiency of infection in these two strains. Therefore, I intend to determine the effects of prior anaerobic exposure of SCFAs, specifically propionate, on strain 07PF0776 by using hemolytic assays to measure the activity of secreted LLO as an indication of bacterial virulence. If propionate treatment results in an increase of LLO production, there would be a higher red blood cell lysis in the mixture. Ultimately, this research will help us better understand the role of propionate and its potential applications in promoting cardiac health.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research

Primary Advisor

Yvonne Y. Sun

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

Anaerobic propionate exposure and its effect on the virulence and pathogenesis of Listeria monocytogenes Strain 07PF0776