Microbiology

Alexandra Paharik

Alexandra Paharik

Address: 540 EMRB
Phone: (319) 335-7996
Email: alexandra-paharik@uiowa.edu

Mentor: Alexander R. Horswill, PhD

Undergraduate Institution: University of Notre Dame

Research Description

The gram-positive bacterium Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of both nosocomial and community-acquired infections, the latter of which are becoming increasingly prevalent. S. aureus is a versatile pathogen and employs a variety of virulence factors to cause many different types of infections in humans. To develop novel treatments for S. aureus infections, it is necessary to characterize the mechanisms of these virulence factors. The S. aureus secreted proteases called the Spls are a potential virulence factor whose function is currently unknown. My work in Alex Horswill’s lab is to study the biochemistry of these serine-like proteases and their function in S. aureus physiology and pathogenesis. We are using genetic, biochemical, and in vivo approaches to answer these questions about the Spls.