Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2019
Home Department: Chemical Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Andrew Spakowitz (Chemical Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering) and Sarah Heilshorn (Materials Science & Engineering)

Research Title: Characterization and Modeling of Intestinal Mucus as an Anti-Microbial Barrier

Research Description: The intestinal mucosal layer plays a critical role in protecting the body from harmful pathogens, so disruption of this protection barrier may lead to infection and disease. Previous work on mice has shown that dietary emulsifiers, ubiquitous in processed foods, can promote inflammation by decreasing mucus thickness and allowing encroachment of microbiota into the mucosal layer. Thus, Pamela will examine how the rheology (i.e. study of flow) of mucus informs the mechanics of bacterial invasion. She proposes to develop a high-throughput, predictive model for rapidly assessing the effects of dietary additives on the rheology of mucus and elucidating connections between mucus rheology and disease.


Pamela is a postdoc in the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering working in the lab of Matthew Tirrell.