February 2019 – Cheryl Nickerson

Dr. Cheryl Nickerson is a professor at the Biodesign Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines and Virotherapy at Arizona State University. Her lab studies the effects of biomechanical forces on living cells (microbial and human), how this response is related to normal cellular homeostasis or infectious disease, and its translation to clinical applications. She and her lab have developed several innovative model systems to study these processes including 3-D organotypic models of human tissues that mimic the structure and function of in vivo tissues and their application to study the host-pathogen interaction that leads to infectious disease.

Dr. Cheryl Nickerson’s lab’s aim to bridge the gap between current intestinal models and the real intestine. Her laboratory has pioneered the uses of Rotating Wall Vessels, which can model low fluid shear in mucosal tissues in the intestine. Her past work involved determining if the characteristic of Salmonella Typhimurium would change under low fluid shear conditions as compared to high fluid shear conditions. She also talked about her recent advancement in creating 3D intestinal models, which have been shown to have better tight junctions and specialized epithelial cell types such as M cells and goblet cells. This intestinal model can also differentiate between various Salmonella strains, such as a GI strain and a deadly bloodborne strain, and can model different effects of Salmonella infection on the small intestine and colon. She looks to advance her model by adding commensal microbes and the patient fecal microbiome, as infections occur in these specific environments.

See her work here.