Student NameDylan Burgin
Faculty Mentor NameDr. Kelly Rice
CollegeCollege of Agricultural and Life Sciences
MajorMicrobiology and Cell Science
Research InterestsHost-pathogen interactions, bacterial physiology, antimicrobial resistance, biofilms
Academic AwardsAnderson Scholar of High Distinction, President's Honor Roll, CALS Dean's List, CALS Freshman Scholar
OrganizationsFootprints Buddy and Support Program, Undergraduate Research Board of Students
Hobbies and InterestsBasketball, listening to music, playing video games, watching anime

Research Project

The Role of saNOS and SrrAB in the Production of Virulence Factors by Staphylococcus aureus

Staphylococcus aureus is a formidable, opportunistic human pathogen that can cause a wide variety of infections such as chronic wounds, endocarditis, and osteomyelitis. Implicated in its success as a pathogen is its ability to produce a variety of virulence factors and its highly adaptive metabolism. An important contributor to this fluid metabolism is S. aureus nitric oxide synthase (saNOS), which plays a role in aerobic respiratory function and TCA cycle activity, while also conferring resistance to endogenous oxidative stress, antimicrobial peptides, and antibiotics. A second regulator of S. aureus metabolism, the staphylococcal respiratory response regulator (SrrAB) two-component system, has been implicated as a positive regulator of saNOS expression, and is hypothesized to sense both oxidative and nitrosative stress. With previous research suggesting that saNOS and SrrAB have interplay on the metabolic level, this study aims to further investigate the individual impact of both saNOS and SrrAB and their interplay on virulence factor production and host gene expression. It is hoped that this study will provide insight into the mechanisms through which saNOS and SrrAB contribute to virulence, potentially leading to novel therapeutic strategies against this pathogen.