Cecilia A. Silva-Valenzuela, Ph.D.

Title
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department
Department of Molecular Biology
Institution
Tufts University
Address
136 Harrison Avenue
South Cove 510
City, State, Zip
Boston, MA 02111
Phone
617-636-6933
E-mail
Cecilia.silva[at]tufts.edu
Website
http://sackler.tufts.edu/Faculty-and-Research/Faculty-Research-Pages/Andrew-Camilli
Research Field
Molecular Biology; Microbiology
Award Year
2016
Country Of Origin
Chile
Mentor Name
Andrew Camilli, Ph.D.

Research

The Camilli lab investigates whether a specialized type of virus can be employed to curb the spread of cholera. A disease characterized by severe diarrhea, cholera is caused by a bacterium that cycles between living in the human intestine and in bodies of water. Bacteria can be destroyed not only by manufactured antibiotics, but also by naturally occurring viruses called "bacteriophages" that colonize places with high bacterial content such as the intestine. Notably, patients infected with Vibrio cholerae also typically have in their gut bacteriophages that specifically destroy the cholera pathogen. While these cholera-killing bacteriophages limit the amount of time the bacteria can survive in a human host, little is known about whether they might reduce cholera outbreaks by eliminating Vibrio cholerae in its aquatic environment. I will assess whether waterborne Vibrio cholerae is vulnerable to bacteriophages and determine which bacteriophages are most effective at reducing bacterial transmission, work that could lead to a novel approach to preventing cholera outbreaks.