Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Weirui Xiao L&S Sciences

Effect of endometrial decidualization on Chlamydia trachomatis infection

Women who are on birth control pills are at higher risk for Chlamydia trachomatis (Ct) infection than women not on birth control pills. There is also evidence that women whose endometrium is decidualized during the secretory phase of the menstrual cycle are more susceptible to Ct infection compared to women in other phases of their cycle. However, the basis for this susceptibility to Ct infection is poorly understood at a molecular level. We have previously shown that an increase in the availability of the fatty acid oleic acid (OA) to the Ct infected cell prolongs the time it takes for Ct to differentiate from metabolically active reticulate bodies (RBs) to metabolically inert but infectious elementary bodies (EBs), leading to a greater number of infectious progeny at the end of the organisms developmental cycle. Therefore, I want to examine the role of lipid metabolism changes that occur naturally during decidualization of the endometrium on the intracellular development and infectivity of Ct. I hypothesize that the susceptibility demonstrated in OA treatment of primary endometrial cells is linked to the susceptibility demonstrated in decidualization.

Message To Sponsor

Dear Thye Fund, I came in this summer expecting to adjust to working full-time on an independent project but spending hours in lab wrestling with equipment and trudging in on weekends to tend to cells. However, I did not know how exciting, stimulating, and motivating it would be to interact with peers working on such a wide variety of different projects, in addition to experiencing the life of a full-time researcher without the distractions of classes. Thank you for this opportunity to truly immerse myself in my research question and learn how to present my research to others. The conference at the end of the semester was one of the best experiences of my undergraduate career thus far.
Profile image of Weirui Xiao
Major: MCB and IB
Mentor: Deborah Dean
Sponsor: Thye L&S
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