Award: Woodrow Wilson
Reconstituting Chemotaxis in Nonmotile Cells in Response to a Bacterial Chemoattractant
Chemotaxis, the ability of a cell to move in response to a chemical gradient, is a fundamental cellular process responsible for organismal development, immunity, and cancer metastasis. Different types of cells respond to different chemical stimuli and move in response to these stimuli in highly specific ways. In this project, we aimed to reengineer cells that are normally nonmotile to respond to a chemical gradient secreted from a bacterium that normally does not come into contact with mammalian cells and to chase the bacterium. We hope that the application of our technique to sense different chemical gradients, as well as the addition of certain functional capabilities to the moving cells that allow them to destroy the chased target once it is reached, will allow the development of highly flexible and targeted therapies to combat novel bacterial infections that the immune system is insensitive toward or to track down and destroy metastasizing cancer cells.
Mentor: Dr. Takanari Inoue, Cell Biology