Sayo McCowin

Research Description

My independent research focuses on host cell susceptibility to Cryptosporidium infection. This work is of high importance because (i) Cryptosporidium is the leading cause of pediatric diarrhea in children and (ii) there is no vaccine nor effective treatment (iii) diarrheal disease accounts for 10% of under 5-years childhood mortality. This highlights the need to develop novel therapeutics for these at-risk populations. Performing a genome-wide association study (GWAS) on children in the 1st year of life we have identified a significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) associated with a 2.4-fold increase in susceptibility to Cryptosporidium infection. This preliminary work has led to a focus on examining the role of protein kinase c-alpha (PKC-α) activity during Cryptosporidium infection. Examining the role of the SNP on PRKCA expression and subsequent PKC-α protein activity will provide insight on a potential target to advance critically needed treatments for cryptosporidiosis.