Brenda Favela-Belmonte 214x300BRENDA FAVELA-BELMONTE

Nevada State College
Mentor: Robin Cresiski

Characterization of cellular events in cockroach immune response using image-based flow cytometry

The primary research objective is to use image-based flow cytometry to analyze cellular changes in response to pathogen exposure in cockroaches. The cockroaches that will be used for this research will be the Periplaneta americana and local wild caught cockroaches from residential and commercial areas in Nevada.

The focus of our research will be investigating cellular changes in response to pathogen exposure in the cockroach immune system. This will be accomplished by staining cockroach hemocytes for cellular features like cell proliferation, cell morphology, organelle content and monitoring any changes in these features during an immune response to pathogenic exposure. This will help gain a greater understanding of the immune response that cells undergo in response to infection. Since cockroaches are worldwide abundant pests in homes and hospitals, understanding how they manage infection is of interest. Understanding primary systems of adaptive immunity in invertebrates may enable development of therapeutics for immunocompromised vertebrates whose well-understood mechanisms of defense are dysfunctional.