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Erik Kopping
Advisor: Dr. David Thanassi

B.S., 2012, University of Connecticut

Following my graduation from UCONN in May 2012, I enrolled in the Ph.D. program in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Stony Brook University. I was interested in studying bacterial secretion systems, and after my rotations I joined the laboratory of Dr. David Thanassi in the Center for Infectious Diseases. My research focuses on the virulence mechanisms of the bacterium Francisella tularensis. F. tularensis is a highly infectious intracellular pathogen and potential bioweapon. I am studying the role of the outer membrane channel protein, TolC, in modulating the host response to F. tularensis infection. TolC forms the outer membrane spanning component of the type I secretion system (T1SS), which is important for the secretion of toxins and virulence factors by a number of Gram-negative bacteria. One of my interests is to understand which cellular defenses F. tularensis counteracts in the macrophage (a major replicative niche in vivo) via TolC during the course of infection. In addition, I seek to identify potential virulence factors secreted through TolC to counteract these host responses. I chose to conduct my thesis work at Stony Brook University's Center for Infectious Disease because of the tight-knit, collaborative atmosphere. The Center offers the opportunity to work with like-minded individuals on cutting-edge science – an opportunity I thoroughly enjoy! When not in the lab I enjoy being outdoors, drinking craft beer, playing sports and traveling.

Select Honors and Awards:
Tularemia International Society Outstanding Poster Presentation Award, October 2015
Tularemia International Society Travel Award, September 2015
American Society of Microbiology Student Travel Grant, May 2015
NIH/NIAID Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) Appointee, 2014-2016
Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Excellence in Teaching Award, October 2013

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