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Lauren Emmerson

Graduate Student, Chemical and Physical Biology

My project will focus on developing and applying multimodal molecular imaging technologies to understand the localized pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus induced osteomyelitis in situ. I will develop a workflow for the integration of imaging mass spectrometry (IMS) with spatial transcriptomics using the Nanostring GeoMx system. Specifically, these technologies will be applied to investigate the molecular alterations that occur in osteoblasts and osteoclasts as a result of S. aureus infection in bone. Osteomyelitis is characterized by inflammation of the bone or bone marrow and therefore it is valuable to understand how infection drives changes in cellular organization and localized molecular environments around critical cell types. My overall goal is to provide a systems biology ‘toolbox’ for understanding how infection alters the bone tissue microenvironment with the long-term goal of improving human health by informing future therapeutic and drug development for a stronger osteomyelitis prognosis. I believe it would be valuable to go beyond mouse models and to study osteomyelitis in human samples and I hope that participation in the APMM program will provide the knowledge necessary to develop a translational aspect to my thesis work.