Honors Theses


Yvonne Sun, Ph.D.



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Honors Thesis


Macrophages are leukocytes that play an important role in the antibacterial responses by our body’s immune system. The activities and functions of macrophages are influenced by a variety of substances, such as short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) found in the gut. Currently, we know that SCFAs, such as propionate, induce directional recruitment of leukocytes. For intracellular bacterial pathogens, the movement of infected macrophages can contribute to the systemic dissemination of the pathogens. However, little is known whether SCFAs like propionate can modulate the movement of infected macrophages. To fill this knowledge gap, Listeria monocytogenes, a human pathogen capable of causing infections with high mortality rates, is used as the model intracellular pathogen. It is not clear how propionate modulates activities of infected macrophages. The first objective of my honors thesis is to develop a transwell protocol to assess macrophage migration, including the identification of optimal staining procedures, macrophage numbers, and transwell pore sizes. The second objective of my honors thesis is to investigate how propionate changes the migration of infected macrophages. Findings from this study can help us better understand regulatory signals for macrophage functions and reveal potential immunotherapeutic treatments against intracellular infections.

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Undergraduate research