Congratulations Poyin Chen, PhD

Poyin Chen (aka Po) has completed her degree in my group. She graduated and is moving on to a great post doc position to study Shigella at Harvard University. Congratulations to Po!!

Her energy, lab skills, and crafting skills will be missed. However, as with all students, she is moving to a better place. I’m really proud to have Po move to another lab and expand her experience and knowledge. While in my group Po studied Listeria monocytogenes. She made some great contributions to the field. First, she showed methylation differences along with genotype was not predictive of virulence – while no link was found she did find the largest genetic variability to date in Listeria. Using PacBio sequencing she also found that large sections of the genome lift and invert at tRNA genes (Chen et al. 2017. App. Environ. Microbiol. 83:e02091-16. (PMID: 27836852)).

Secondly, Po used prebiotics with pathogens to discover that the complex oligosaccharide modulates the host intrinsic immune response to handle Listeria monocytogenes invasion differently. HMO leads to clearing via a different mechanism that does mannosyl-oligosaccharides. This observation also excluded that option that prebiotics block bacterial association using a physical method, but rather induce host changes that subsequently change the bacterial infection outcome (Chen et al., 2017. Pathogens 6:68 (invited contribution in – Special issue on Listeria monocytogenes and host interactions; Feature Article)).

Additionally, she was involved with identifying unique host/microbe receptor/ligands using a novel method to cross-link host cells together. That work is currently in review and it demonstrates that there are many touch points that bacteria use to bind the cell that were not previously known. It has implications for microbiome interactions and host response networks as well as bacterial metabolism changes during host association.

Lastly, Po was part of the 100K Pathogen Genome Project to provide methods and protocols for best practice in whole genome sequencing source tracking (Chen et al. 2017. Genome Announcements 5:e00967-16). I’m sure Po will have a productive career and post doc. All the best Po. We all wish you the very best for your new home and lab!!

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