Theresa Astmann

Theresa is a rising second-year VMD-PhD student at Penn and a member of the MVP graduate group. She graduated with a BS in Animal Science from the University of Vermont, where she completed an undergraduate research thesis investigating bovine teat skin commensals with antimicrobial activity against pathogens responsible for mastitis. After college, Theresa spent a year teaching English in southern France before returning to the US to work as a research technician at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There she worked under the direction of Dr. JP van Pijkeren on several projects revolving around ecology of the gut symbiont Lactobacillus reuteri and the development of probiotic bacteria as delivery vehicles for recombinant biotherapeutics. Broadly, she is interested in small animal internal medicine, the link between diet and microbiome health, and targets for therapeutic manipulation of the microbiome. During her Spring independent study and subsequent Summer rotation, Theresa took the lead on assembling a pangenome for elusive, but important, bile acid-producing commensals. She used the Anvi’o suite of computational tools to carry out comparative analysis of different bile acid-producer species, and to identify bacterial factors that might drive host adaptation.

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