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Katie Gordon

Research Interests: I am a graduate student co-advised by Dr. Brian Lazzaro (Entomology) and Dr. Mariana Wolfner (Molecular Biology and Genetics). My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms that determine the trade-off between reproduction and immunity in Drosophila melanogaster. Mated females have a lower capacity to induce antimicrobial gene expression, and have a higher bacterial load and higher risk of death than virgin females after infection. Previous research has shown that sex peptide, a seminal fluid protein, activates production of juvenile hormone in the female corpus allatum. Juvenile hormone promotes egg production, but also suppresses the immune response. I am interested in determining 1) how investment of resources to egg production, particularly yolk proteins, limits immune response and 2) the mechanism through which juvenile hormone directly or indirectly suppresses immunity.