Katherine Still, BS, Biology, James Madison University
I am interested in the mechanisms of immune cell recruitment to the brain in a variety of contexts. In the Harris lab, we use the neurotropic parasite Toxoplasma gondii to study the immunobiology of CNS infection. My project centers on IL-33, a nuclear protein released upon cell damage, which mediates immune infiltration and activation. Initially described in barrier tissues, IL-33 research has been gaining momentum in the CNS. The nuclear protein is expressed in oligodendrocytes and has been shown to have protective roles in Alzheimer’s Disease and spinal cord injury models. I intend to characterize IL-33’s role in our model of CNS infection by studying downstream consequences of its release.