Awarded in 2015
Home Department: Immunology
Faculty Advisors: Paul Bollyky (Medicine - Infectious Diseases) and Lynette Cegelski (Chemistry) (Medicine - Infectious Diseases) and David Stevens (Medicine - Infectious Diseases)
Research Title: Immune modulation by filamentous bacteriophage in bacterial biofilms
Research Description: Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a major human pathogen and an important cause of morbidity and mortality in wound infections. With the increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, new treatment strategies are required. P. aeruginosa’s survival is predicated on its ability to form biofilms, slimy layers of sugars and lipids that encase the microbial community and protect it from immune clearance. Johanna uses models of human wound healing and biochemical tools to study how the biofilm composition mediates immune suppression. Ultimately, her research will improve the understanding behind the regulation of inflammatory immune responses during biofilm infections and yield novel therapeutic targets.
Johanna graduated in January of 2019. The main body of her research was published in Science in March of 2019, and was highlighted in the June edition of the microbiology podcast “This Week in Microbiology”, for which Johanna was interviewed by the president of the American Society for Microbiology. Johanna has since also authored additional work appearing in Science Translational Medicine, Advances in Wound Care, and other publications. She currently works as a consultant at a life sciences consulting firm in San Francisco.