Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Clostridium difficile is a bacterium that is rapidly becoming a large issue in the medical community due to its tendency to infect hospital patients and its resistance to antibiotics. By studying the way in which the pathogen interacts with the human immune system, it is possible to better understand how the body naturally fights off the disease. This knowledge can allow medical professionals to develop treatments that can help curtail the infection before serious symptoms occur. Working under a grant program alongside Professors Kirsten Hokeness and Chris Reid, I was able to research the effects that exposure to the C. difficile bacteria has on healthy human immune cells. Our findings show that there is a heightened level of chemokine production in these cells, which is indicative of an immune response to combat the C. difficile infection.