Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Maritza Cárdenas Sciences

Investigation of Boosting of the Dengue B cell/Antibody Response in Nicaraguan Children

Dengue virus (DENV) is a mosquito-borne virus with four distinct serotypes. Primary infection by any of the four serotypes may result in dengue fever or, in severe cases, progress to dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome. Recent studies have challenged dogma in the dengue field by finding that serotype-cross-reactive neutralizing antibody titers in serum of children in a cohort study in Nicaragua increased marginally in the time between primary and secondary DENV infection rather than decreasing over time, implying re-exposure to DENV. Maritza will use a novel method the Quad-color Fluorospotto investigate whether homotypic and heterotypic boosting observed previously in serum is also seen in memory B cells obtained from dengue cohort participants from Nicaragua. Her work will have important implications for both natural immunity and dengue vaccine efficacy over time.

Major: Molecular and Cell Biology, Creative Writing minor
Mentor: Mentor: Eva Harris, Public Health
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