Kimberly Ghorm (biology, pre-med)
and Kara McClain (nursing, McNair Scholar) presented their medical microbiology
research at the Allegheny Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (ABASM)
meeting on November 7, 2015.
Undergraduate and graduate students and faculty from
Pitt, Penn State, West Virginia, among others, were in attendance. McClain won the
Award of Excellence in Microbiology for first place Undergraduate Medical
Ghorm’s poster presentation was
titled “The Serovar-8 Mycobacterium avium
Glycopeptidolipid: Its Effect on Host Macrophage Rab5/Rab7 Expression and the
Phagolysosome Fusion Process.” Using western blotting and confocal microscopy
techniques, Ghorm is dissecting the disease-causing role(s) of a cell wall
component of an opportunistic respiratory pathogen M. avium, on its infected host’s immunological defense mechanisms.
McClain’s poster presentation was titled “Prevalence of Co-infecting Pathogens
in Ixodes scapularis from Northeast and Midwest Regions of the United
States.” McClain, in a recent interdisciplinary and collaborative research
venture with biologists Jeffery Larkin and Vida Irani, is comparing northeast and midwest blacklegged tick samples for three pathogens causing endemic disease; A.
phagocytophilum (Anaplasmosis), Ba. microti (Babesiosis), and B. burgdorferi (Lyme
IUP Health and Human Services Dean Mark Correia has kindly provided work study hours
to McClain for this project.
Pictured from left are undergraduate students Iyinoluwa Abimbola Adekola Estinville (nursing), Kimberly
Ghorm (biology), and Kara McClain (nursing) at the ABASM meeting held at
the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg on Nov 7, 2015.
Department of Biology