Alexis McCalla

Program: Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Current advisor: Rotating in the lab of Mario F. Feldman, PhD

Undergraduate university: University of Oklahoma

Research summary
This past summer I worked in the lab of Dr. Jeffrey Henderson studying the Escherichia coli exometabolome. E. coli encounter multiple unique environments in the human urinary tract. While there are many strains of E. coli, a subset, designated as uropathogenic E.coli (UPEC), are commonly associated with human urinary tract infections (UTIs). How E. coli adapt to urinary environments is incompletely understood and may vary between E. coli strains. Therefore, we began a pilot project to address this gap in knowledge. Three strains of E. coli with varying propensities to cause UTIs were grown in human urine, and the resulting cell-free urine media was characterized using high resolution mass spectrometry. Through this work we hope to identify metabolic differences between strains that affect their pathogenic potential and to identify new therapeutic targets for UTI prevention or treatment.

Graduate publications