Lily Charpentier Awarded NIH Predoctoral Fellowship

Lily Charpentier was awarded a competitive Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral National Research Service Award (F31) from the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The NIH F31 Awards support the graduate research of students with a demonstrated potential to develop as productive and independent researchers.

Lily is a 4th year student in the Dr. Bruce Stanton's lab in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine. The Stanton Lab studies interactions between bacteria and cells in the human airway in individuals with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). CF is a genetic disease caused by a single mutated protein that has wide-ranging effects, particularly impacting lung function and susceptibility to lung infections. While highly effective modular therapies have been utilized to enhance lung function in individuals with CF, the persistence of chronic polymicrobial infections remains a significant challenge, and is the primary cause of morbidity and mortality in CF. Existing research on CF host-pathogen interactions often focuses on single-species infection models cultivated in microbiological mediums in 21% oxygen. These conditions are not representative of the CF lung environment, in which many types of bacteria coexist in thick mucus lining the lungs.

Lily's research aims to shed light on host-pathogen interactions within a polymicrobial model grown in artificial sputum medium under anoxic conditions, conditions that simulate the lung environment found in 34% of people with CF. By investigating the impact of this culture on the phenotype and gene expression of human bronchial epithelial cells, she seeks to gain a comprehensive understanding of how polymicrobial cultures interact with host cells and modulate the immune response, ultimately contributing to the establishment of chronic infections.

Lily is originally from Southern Maine and she received an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Maine Orono. When she's not hard at work in the lab, you might find her skiing, playing tennis, or painting.