Congratulations to our 3 University of Utah Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) grantees! Amanda, Joe, and Mait all received summer stipends to work on their research projects in our lab.
| Amanda Barrett
The purpose of my UROP project is to determine if there are transcriptomic predictors for patients with recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (CDI). From stool samples, we will isolate host mRNA and analyze gene expression using RNA sequencing and qPCR. Both types of analysis should aid in comparing genes of interest and compare results between patients with recurring CDI, cured CDI, and a control group.
Hundreds of years before the arrival of Western Medicine to the Salt Lake valley Native American tribes used local herbs to treat digestive problems such as diarrhea, stomach pains, and other intestinal problems. My project consists of testing various roots and seeds used by Native Americans such as Rosa Woodsi, Grindelia Squarossa, Rumex crispus and Rhus trilobata. These compounds are being tested for toxicity and activity on human intestinal and immune cells.
The purpose of my UROP project is to study the activation of mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells. It is already known that some riboflavin metabolites activate MAIT cells. I will test to see if molecules produced by other types of disease-causing bacteria activate MAIT cells in a similar way. The overall goal is to get a better understanding of how diarrhea-causing bacteria affect our immune system.