Hana Sugimoto Fukuto, Ph.D.
Laboratory of Dr. James Bliska
B.A., 1996, Wellesley College
Ph.D., 2004, Harvard University
I am interested in learning how organisms have evolved to sense and adapt to their environment. In graduate school I studied how C. elegans can smell and avoid noxious chemicals. In the Bliska lab, I study the molecular mechanisms by which Yersinia pestis survives and replicates inside the host macrophages following phagocytosis. I am also interested in determining if the small evolutionary changes in the Y. pestis genome (e.g. SNPs) have had any effects on the virulence of the bacteria. I am currently focusing on a single nucleotide change in the transcriptional regulator gene phoP, which can be found in all the recent (and more virulent) strains of Y. pestis but not in the ancient strains. When I am not in lab, I am busy coaxing and chauffeuring my kids but also enjoying their silly jokes and happy laughter.