Andie Kim

Deanna Kim

Andie Kim
Home Institute: University of Toronto
Supervisor: Dr. William Navarre

Hello, my name is Andie, and I am a fourth-year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto studying Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. I am deeply interested in the co-evolution of endogenous microbiota with the host, and how pathogens can manipulate and evade the immune response. Outside the lab, you can catch me racing down King Street on my bike, kicking back at a live show supporting local musicians, or advocating for reform in mental health policy. I hope that as an Amgen Scholar, I can be part of a team that values scientific discovery in the context of both the academic community and across multiple branches of society.

Project Title: Bacteriophage as markers and triggers of colitis.  Specific members of the gut microbiota have been associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), but the underlying mechanisms by which these taxa alter pathogenesis remain unclear. Interestingly, bacteriophages that target pro-inflammatory commensals have been shown to increase in abundance during colitis, especially phages that have been reactivated from a lysogenic state. The phage-mediated liberation of microbial cell wall components and nucleic acids in the gut may stimulate pattern recognition receptors on innate immune cells, exacerbating IBD symptoms. The Navarre lab aims to investigate whether inflammatory mediators such as reactive oxygen or nitrogen species trigger the release of phages from endogenous microbiota, as well as deeply characterize these potentially novel viruses. 

I believe the Amgen program will introduce me to other students and professors with diverse backgrounds and scientific interests. I would love to hear their perspectives on how to formulate research questions and experimental designs, as well as learn more about their individual experiences navigating the academic sphere.