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Understanding the interaction between nontuberculous mycobacteria and the host in cystic fibrosis

Stinson, Lydia
Vermeire, Charlie
Tan, Xuejuan

Nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) are environmental bacteria and can be found in soil, water, and dusts. However, they can cause lung diseases in certain populations with pre-existing lung conditions such as cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). NTM employs a variety of mechanisms for their survival in the host, such as arresting phagolysosome maturation, cell wall component alteration, and attenuating T cell activation to interfere with the host's protective immune response. In this study, I am working with the senior lab members to understand the mechanism by which Mycobacterium abscessus, one type of NTM strains, causes active lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. We hope that our research can aid in the medical approach and treatment plans of NTM infections.