MGM Graduate Student (2012)
272 Jones Building, DUMC 3580
Durham, N.C. 27710
Research Interests: Microbial pathogenesis
I came to Duke from Charlotte, NC, where I worked as a paramedic long before I developed an interest in biomedical research. In that role, I encountered concepts such as antibiotic resistance, immunodeficiency, and nosocomial infection as real experiences in the lives of the people I served. Fascinated by the microbiological and immunological dimensions of disease, I studied biology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. As I studied, one core theme that consistently drew my attention was endosymbiosis.
In the Valdivia lab, we work to understand Chlamydia trachomatis, an obligate intracellular bacterium. In order to replicate within a host cell, Chlamydia cloisters itself inside a membrane-bound compartment called an inclusion. Do all individuals within an inclusion follow an essentially uniform course of gene expression changes, or does the inclusion enclose a complex community with differentiated roles? As an organism that is just now becoming amenable to genetic manipulation, it may be possible to approach such a question for this human pathogen.
When I’m not in the lab, I like to be outdoors, play guitar, and explore the area with my wife.