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K-State Today

April 28, 2022

Stacey Gilk to present Division of Biology Seminar

Submitted by Division of Biology

Stacey Gilk, associate professor of pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, will present her research titled "Fine-Tuning Cholesterol in the Intracellular Niche" as part of the Division of Biology Seminar Series at 3:30 p.m. Monday, May 2, in 221 Ackert Hall and via Zoom.

Coxiella burnetii is the main cause of human Q fever, an emerging infectious disease and a significant cause of culture-negative endocarditis, or infection and inflammation of the lining of one or more heart valves. Acute infections of this disease are often undiagnosed, and there are no licensed vaccines to prevent the disease in the United States. Chronic Q fever requires prolonged antibiotic treatment. Therefore, new treatment and preventive options are critically needed.

In this presentation, Gilk will describe her study of establishing a novel Coxiella sterol modifying protein, Stmp1, which facilitates bacterial growth by reducing Coxiella-containing vacuole cholesterol. The accumulation of cholesterol increases its acidification, therefore leading to bacterial death. To survive this harsh environment, Coxiella burnetii likely regulates the Coxiella-containing vacuole. Gilk’s study establishes that Stmp1-mediated regulation of host cholesterol homeostasis is essential for Coxiella burnetii intracellular survival.

If you would like to visit with Gilk, please contact Steph Shames.