Awarded in 2015
Home Department: Mechanical Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Manu Prakash (Bioengineering) and Giulio de Leo (Biology)
Research Title: “Life under gravity: Multi-scale measurement tools for plankton biophysics and disease ecology”
Research Description: Schistosomiasis is a Neglected Tropical Disease responsible for the deaths of an estimated 200,000 people each year, and is caused by a blood fluke worm. Infectious forms of the worm, known as cercariae, are present in freshwater and seek human hosts by swimming and detecting chemical cues emitted by humans. Since cercariae have only a limited time to find humans before they perish, this host-seeking stage is a critical and unexploited weak link in disease transmission. Using a fundamental understanding of the biophysics of swimming and host-seeking, Deepak will explore a novel strategy to disrupt this process and thus prevent infection.