Abstract by Kennedy Gifford
Physics and Astronomy
Brett (Life Sciences) Pickett
Understanding the Mechanisms of Streptococcus Pneumoniae Infection
Streptococcus pneumoniae causes over 500,000 cases of pneumonia and ~4,000 deaths annually in the United States alone. Although there are vaccines available, this bacteria still causes strep throat, ear infections, and cardiac disease in humans. In this analysis, we used computational methods to identify the differentially expressed genes and signaling pathways that change during infection of human lung cells with this bacteria. We found that at 60 or 120 minutes after infection, human lung cells modulate the expression of over 1050 or 1150 genes (respectively) with a log2 fold-change ranging from -9 to 11 or -9 to 8 (respectively). These genes represented over 30 unique pathways or only one pathway at 60 or 120 minutes, respectively. Our findings are relevant to understand better the underlying mechanism of how this pathogen causes disease and can enable the development of more effective therapeutics to combat this global disease.