The American Society for Microbiology has selected Christopher Lehmann, a junior in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology, as a recipient of the ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Lehmann’s research focuses on how mosquito-transmitted viruses invade and emerge from cells within the mosquito’s body, then travel through the mosquito and ultimately flow through saliva into a host through a mosquito bite. Dr. Brian Foy, an Assistant Professor in MIP, is Lehmann’s mentor.
Lehmann, who is a junior in the undergraduate microbiology program, has made viruses transmitted by mosquitoes fluorescent so that he can study the virus as it moves through the body of the mosquito. Lehmann is using a gene from the jellyfish which makes a protein that is fluorescent. He has spliced the green fluorescent gene into a mosquito-transmitted virus. Lehmann studies the glowing virus in real time under a microscope with ultraviolet light as it bursts out of mosquito cells and travels through the mosquito’s body.
The ASM research fellowship is aimed at highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers in microbiology. Under the fellowship, Lehmann conducted full-time summer research at Colorado State University and will present his research results at the organization’s general meeting in San Diego, Calif., if the abstract is accepted. He received a $3,000 stipend, a two-year ASM student membership and reimbursement for travel expenses to the meeting.
The American Society for Microbiology, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is the oldest and largest single biological membership organization, with more than 40,000 members worldwide.