Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 4-30-2020



First Advisor

Cláudia N. H. Marques

Second Advisor

Laura Cook

Third Advisor

Robert G. Van Buskirk


Science and Mathematics

Subject Heading(s)

Pseudomonas aeruginosa; Immune system; Host-virus relationships


Persister cells are a subpopulation of bacterial cells known to be tolerant to antimicrobials. Their reduced susceptibility to antimicrobials allows them to be the source of recurrence of many chronic bacterial infections. As a result, it is vital to understand the mechanisms that allow these cells to be able to evade further treatment. Furthermore, it is currently unknown whether the persister cells are detected and killed by the host immune response. In this work I explored the host-pathogen interactions between Pseudomonas aeruginosa cells, both persister and regular, and human macrophages. I hypothesized that persister cells would be engulfed at a lower rate compared to regular P. aeruginosa cells and that the human complement present in serum would increase the engulfment rate for both persisters and regular P. aeruginosa cells. Findings from this work result in a better understanding of the interactions of the host and bacterial persister cells. A better understanding of host-persister interactions will aid in the eradication of chronic infections and antimicrobial tolerance.

Available for download on Saturday, May 14, 2022

Included in

Biology Commons