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Monique Porter

Graduate Student, PMI

Jim Crowe (Thesis)

Isaac Thomsen (Clinical)

For my thesis, I will be studying the human antibody response to multiple toxins. These toxins are both microbial and organismal (Bordetella pertussis toxin, Staphylococcus aureus LukA/B toxin, and Cobra/Spider Toxin). Toxins are less understood than other traditional infectious disease agents, however, they are extremely relevant. The release of toxins is a common virulence factor among microbes, and in my project, I hope to define shared mechanisms of action between multiple toxins and toxin families. First, I will select a panel of potent human antibodies for each toxin, then map the structural and functional epitopes of each toxin. Then, I hope to identify similar functional and physiological traits between the toxins. This is clinically relevant as anti-venom is essential in emergency departments (especially in developing countries), and microbial toxin diagnosis is routinely performed in bacterial infection patient management.