Jennifer Carvel, '18

Student

Jennifer Carvel, '18

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Cohort

2018

Biography

Jennifer Carvel was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Biomedical Sciences . Her passion for alleviating homelessness has led her to begin a non-profit organization, Hearts for the Homeless Orlando, that provides blood pressures screenings to the homeless in addition to general heart health information and free clinic locations. Jennifer is currently researching the efficacy of social services on the homeless in terms of alleviating psychological homelessness. She plans to obtain her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and become a college professor.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Charles Negy

Undergraduate Major

Psychology and Biomedical Sciences

Future Plans

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

Research

Increased HIV transmission due to enhanced NF-κB activity induced by Bacterial Vaginosis.

University of Central Florida

Alexander Cole PhD, College of Medicine

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), a bacterial infection of the female reproductive tract (FRT), predisposes women to HIV infection, but the molecular mechanisms causing enhanced infection rates are not fully understood. Previous studies in our laboratory have determined that BV is associated with increased secretion of inflammatory factors by epithelial cells of the endocervix. The proposed experiments seek to prove whether this inflammatory response to BV leads specifically to increased propagation of HIV by natural target cells. A2EN cells are derived from the endocervix and most closely resemble the environment found in the FRT due to their ability to establish tight junctions in culture; Atopobium vaginae, a BV associated pathogen, has proven to be a strong stimulator of a host response to BV. Conditioned media, from A2EN cells infected with A. vaginae, will be applied to HIV target cellsprior to infection with HIV. Activity of the transcription factor complex NF-κB, known to positively affect HIV transcription, will be measured in conjunction with propagation of HIV virions. Once it is determined whether NF-κB activity is causing increased transmission of infection, an epithelial barrier will be added to the experiment to test the effects of A2EN/A. vaginae conditioned media on barrier permeability and transmission of HIV to primary cells. This experiment seeks to imitate the human host as closely as possible so that results can be applied towards creating protein inhibitors towards NF-κB should it prove to be the defining link between Bacterial Vaginosis and HIV transmission.

Summer Research Institution

University of California San Diego (STARS)

Disciplines

Clinical Psychology | Medicine and Health Sciences

Jennifer Carvel, '18

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