Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Salman Aljilani Rose Hills

Evaluating the role of lactate in conferring the beneficial effects of exercise on immunity

Exercise has been shown to be an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, and also as an adjuvant to enhance vaccine efficacy in the elderly. Evidence accumulated by others suggests that lactate production formed as a byproduct of exercise may fuel many cellular functions. This includes improving energy metabolism, even in the presence of glucose, by boosting bioenergetic efficiencies in many different cell types (i.e. skeletal muscle and neurons) through a shuttling mechanism that facilitates movement of lactate into recipient cells. My project will monitor lymphocytes, a major player of our immune defense system, upon exposure with lactate to observe if these cells convert lactate into pyruvate via the catalytic activities of the enzyme lactate dehydrogenase. This would suggest that exercise exerts its beneficial effects on lymphocyte proliferation and immunity through the lactate shuttle and the associated bioenergetic machinery. The evidence gathered in support of this proposed relationship would provide yet another mechanism by which exercise improves health.

Message To Sponsor

I have been researching at CHORI for over a year now, but researching and balancing the rigorous course load of a semester has stunted significant progress on projects that I find interesting in lab. The opportunity presented to me by the SURF/ Rose Hills fellowship has allowed me to pursue research fulltime this summer, permitting me to dedicate my desired amount of effort and time towards a fulfilling and exciting project. I hope that all the data and results I compile from my participation in the fellowship will culminate into a senior honors thesis and possibly even published.
Profile image of Salman Aljilani
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Bruce Ames, Molecular and Cell Biology
Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
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