Dr. Juliette K. Tinker
Every year, the US dairy industry suffers significant losses in revenue at the mercy of the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus. Specifically, dairy cows can suffer from Mastitis, an inflammatory infection of the udder from S. aureus. Currently, there is no effective vaccine available. With the use of powerful proteomic tools, our lab has identified important surface proteins of S. aureus. The genes of these proteins are conserved across multiple different S. aureus genomes, a desirable target for vaccine engineering. We have developed and tested a bovine vaccine; it did stimulate an immune response but was not effective in preventing infection 1. We have also identified S. aureus proteins that are expressed in milk, an important factor in Mastitis infection. Our lab has previously identified important surface proteins of S. aureus; the genes of these proteins are conserved across multiple different S. aureus genomes, a desirable target for vaccine engineering. Utilizing online databases such as UNIPROT, NCBI BLAST, and Vaxign, our lab has assembled an extensive library of S. aureus genes characterized based on virulence factors such as function, attachment probability, and antibody binding site prediction. We then organized and weaned our large database to 17 priority vaccine candidates. However, in order to advance our current research, further analysis of these candidates is needed.
Wheeler, Cierra and Tinker, Juliette K., "Exploitation of Staphylococcus aureus Genes of Interest, Through Insilco Design" (2021). 2021 Undergraduate Research Showcase. 47.