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Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

Megan Schappert

Cytotoxicity of Vibrio Cholerae Outer Membrane Vesicles at Acidic, Neutral and Basic Conditions

Department: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Advisor: Angela Brown

Vibrio cholerae is a Gram-negative bacterium that causes the disease cholera. It produces cholera toxin (CT) as its primary virulence factor. The CT is what infects the host and causes symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. CT is delivered to host cells within outer membrane vesicles (OMVs), which bud off from the bacterium. Three samples of OMVs were purified from three growth samples of V. cholerae, grown at acidic, neutral and basic conditions. The cytotoxicity of the OMVs was determined by dot blot, indirect ELISA and through imaging. It was determined that the cytotoxicity of the samples increased as the samples became more basic. This correlation was expected because V. cholerae is typically ingested and has the ability to survive through acidic conditions, but does not procreate and attack its host until it is in basic conditions. These results show insight to how V. cholerae travels through the body on its course to infect its host.

About Megan Schappert :
Megan Schappert is a senior Chemical Engineering student at Lehigh University graduating in May 2018. She has been doing research with Angela Brown’s team since the Summer of 2017, when she was an NSF REU Fellow, and participated in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Graduate Student Symposium in the Fall of 2017. She has been on the Varsity Swimming and Diving team since her freshman year, and has been a member of the Academic Leadership Council while on the team. She has also participated in Engineers Without Borders and been a mentor and coordinator for Lehigh’s Outdoor Adventure Prelusion Program. After graduation, she will be working with Catalent Pharma Solutions in an accelerated leadership development program.