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Workshop / Seminar

Advances in Immunology and Microbiology Seminar Series: Michelle Massaquoi

Bustad Hall
Room 145
  • Optional after-seminar social: Please feel welcome to join us for an informal social gathering following each seminar at Trailside Taproom, 505 SE Riverview, Pullman.
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About the event

Featuring research in the areas of:
Epidemiology | Infectious Disease | Disease Ecology | Drug Discovery | Virology |
Global Health | Vector-Borne Disease | Pathology

The Advances in Immunology & Microbiology seminar series is a weekly forum that brings together scientists from diverse fields and disciplines across the College of Veterinary Medicine to discuss research advances in the broad areas of immunology, microbiology, infectious diseases, and global health. Seminars feature student speakers from the Immunology & Infectious Disease (IID) doctoral program, IID-affiliated postdoctoral researchers and faculty, intramural speakers from across the university, and extramural speakers.

PRESENTER: Michelle S. Massaquoi, PhD; Scientist, ThermoFisher

Product Owner, R&D; Protein and Cell Analysis; Thermo Fisher Scientific; Eugene, Oregon, USA

Michelle Massaquoi earned her Doctorate in Molecular Biology at the University of Oregon where she studied the role of microbiota on host development. In her graduate work, she investigated the mechanism of a gut-specific bacterial protein that stimulates the development of insulin-producing beta cells within larval zebrafish. She also characterized the transcriptional responses of larval zebrafish cells to the microbiota at single cell resolution across the entire host body. Michelle joined Thermo Fisher Scientific in 2022 as a Product Owner in R&D where she works with developers and engineers to ensure a customer-centric focus for products in development by helping design and execute the product vision within the development timeline. Her long-term goals at Thermo Fisher Scientific include building tools that accelerate the time to discovery for scientists across disciplines.

TITLE: Cell-specific responses to microbiota play global roles in host development: How studying host-microbe interactions led to product ownership in spatial biology

ABSTRACT: Animal hosts have always developed in the presence of microbes, acquiring their microbiota from the local environment during early stages of life. Although mounting evidence has given us several insights into the role the microbiota plays on host health and disease, understanding the basic mechanisms behind these interactions and the role of the microbiota during early developmental phases of life is only beginning. Previous work utilizing the gnotobiotic larval zebrafish model led to the discovery of a novel bacterial-secreted protein, beta cell expansion factor A (BefA), that is critical for the development of host insulin-producing beta cells within the pancreas (Hill et al., 2016). However, there are many questions surrounding the mechanism of action of BefA. This seminar will describe the work interrogating the mechanisms of how this bacterial-secreted protein interacts with host cells from the organism to molecular level and how studying host-microbe interactions prepared the way for becoming a Product Owner in the life sciences industry.


Arden Baylink, Assistant Professor, Veterinary Microbiology & Pathology