Ashelyn Sidders, '17
Ashelyn Sidders was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in both biomedical sciences and biotechnology. Ashelyn is currently conducting research under the guidance of Dr. Kyle Rohde, in order to optimize the current knockout methodology used in pathogenic Mycobacteria to better understand their virulence mechanisms. Additionally, she is also a part of the diagnostics research being done in Dr. Rohde’s lab, and is working to develop a highly sensitive diagnostics system for Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis. Ashelyn plans to obtain her Ph.D. in Molecular Pathogenesis and Immunology, to conduct research in the field of emerging infectious diseases.
Dr. Kyle Rohde
Ph.D. in Molecular Pathogenesis and Immunology
Committing to Being Different: the Role of PfNFYB in Plasmodium falciparum Gametogenesis
Conducted at the University of California, at San Diego
Mentors: Dr. Elizabeth Winzeler, University of California at San Diego
Abstract: Despite decades of research and global health initiatives to eradicate Malaria, the disease remains a global health crisis with over 200 million new cases, and nearly 450 thousand deaths in 2015. Thus to combat this disease we need rethink the current antimalarial standards in place, as they currently don’t target the transmissible gametocyte stage of Plasmodium falciparum - the causative agent of Malaria – in turn continuing the spread of the disease. To aid in these efforts, our lab is working towards understanding on the genomic level, what causes P. falciparum to enter gametogenesis.
Through directed evolution, we’ve obtained a parasite line lacking the ability to produce gametocytes – the only genomic variation being a single nucleotide variation (SNV) in the gene of a CCAAT-box transcription factor, PfNFYB. This is an intriguing discovery as PfNFYB has been previously found to be downstream of an important stress indicator, cyclic AMP (cAMP), which has previously been shown to affect parasite gametocyte formation. In order to confirm that this SNV in PfNFYB is responsible for the altered phenotype, we’ve engineered additional parasite lines through CRISPR-Cas9 mediated mutagenesis that also illustrate results that parallel the evolved mutant’s lack of gametocyte production. We then performed transcriptome sequencing to identify genes whose transcriptional profile was altered in parasites with the mutated transcription factor. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to understand the functional role of PfNFYB in the induction of gametogenesis between the parental and mutant strains through differential expression of their transcriptomes.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Ph.D)
Biomedical Sciences, Biotechnology
Life Sciences | Microbiology
Sidders, Ashelyn, "Ashelyn Sidders, '17" (2017). McNair Scholars. 7.