Alexandria Creasy is a PhD student at the University of South Florida being advised by Dr. Mya Breibart at the College of Marine Science and Dr. Larry Dishaw at the College of Medicine.
Abundant and diverse communities of microbes inhabit eukaryotic hosts, particularly within the gut. This microbiota has been shown to be critical for proper host function and development. Ciona intestinalis is an invertebrate chordate model representing the most divergent extant relative to modern day vertebrates. With a sequenced and annotated genome, Ciona provides the ability to look more in depth into the base of the immune system and the interactions between microbiota and the innate immune response. My proposed research will be looking into microbial colonization and competition that takes place along the mucosal layer found within the Ciona gut and the host immune factors that help shape the mucosal gut surface for colonization.