Student NameSarah Tatum
Faculty Mentor NameStephanie Karst
CollegeCollege of Medicine
MajorMicrobiology and Cell Sciences
Research InterestsVirology, Immunology, Molecular Genetics
Academic Awards2018 National Merit Scholar; Undergraduate Research Scholars Program Class of 2022; UF Honors Program Stamps Scholar Class of 2022; President's Honor Roll Fall 2018
OrganizationsGator Band; Involvement Team; UF Honors Program Luminaries
VolunteeringRonald McDonald House Charities; Habitat for Humanity; Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America
Hobbies and InterestsPlaying Saxophone, Traveling, Playing Piano, Creative Writing

Why I got involved in research:

I wanted to get involved with undergraduate research early because I anticipate conducting research in my future career. I expect to pursue an MD-PhD to practice and research pediatric gastroenterology. I am fascinated by the gastrointestinal tract due to my own experience living with an autoimmune disease for ten years. This research combines my personal, professional, and academic interests.

Research Project

Identifying Host Factors Regulating Susceptibility to Norovirus-Induced Diarrhea

Norovirus is a very contagious viral infection that is the most common cause of childhood diarrhea. With this project, we aim to examine associations between norovirus disease severity and innate immune responses using a newly developed mouse model in the Karst laboratory. We predict that murine norovirus-susceptible mouse strains will produce reduced levels of interferon, a critical antiviral immune response, compared to murine norovirus-resistant mouse strains.