Freshman Scholars Program 2012

Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and cAMP: Examination of a Possible Virulence Mechanism for This Deadly Pathogen

Instructor:  Michaela Gazdik, Ph.D.


Project Description:

Up to two students interested in biology, pre-professional science, or biochemistry. Interest in laboratory-based science as opposed to field biology is also preferred. Students who will be successful in the lab normally have a strong background in high school science.

This project uses a non-pathogenic bacterium, M. smegmatis, as a model organism for studying the deadly human pathogen M. tuberculosis. A recent development in the field suggests that changing levels of cAMP in M. tuberculosis provide a mechanism to avoid the immune system and cause disease in humans. This project will examine levels of cAMP in M. smegmatis under various environmental conditions in order to learn more about the regulation of cAMP production. Students will obtain hands-on experience in standard microbiological culturing methods, perform an ELISA assay, and learn how to use basic molecular equipment such as a fluorescent microplate reader and gel electrophoresis chambers.


Michaela Gazdik, Ph.D.

Dr. Gazdik obtained her B.S. degree in biotechnology from Rutgers University and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical sciences from the State University of New York at Albany. Her research interests are based in molecular microbiology, specifically studying gene regulatory mechanisms that allow human pathogens to cause disease. Dr. Gazdik has been at Ferrum College for five years as an Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology and is the current Program Coordinator for the Biology program.

If you have specific questions about this project, please contact Dr. Gazdik directly at MGazdik@ferrum.edu.

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