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Eliza Grigsby ’22

2021 SOAR Profile

Do selenium antioxidants affect the mechanism of bacterial-induced macrophage death?

Major: Neuroscience
Hometown: Winchester, VA
Project Advisor(s): Dr. Kara Mosovsky

Briefly describe your project.

Working alongside Dr. Kara Mosovsky, I explored the cell death mechanism of an infection model of the highly antibiotic disease meliodosis. To model the disease, we infect macrophages, a type white blood cell, with the bacteria Burkholderia thailandensis, which is a model microbe for the causative agent of meliodosis that does not cause disease in humans. I then measured certain molecules to determine the mechanism of cell death that occurs during infection.


Eliza Grigsby ’22

Describe the origin of your project. (e.g., did you pitch the idea and choose a faculty member, or did they come to you with an idea?)

While taking Dr. Mosovsky’s microbiology class, I realized how interested I was in the subject. I attended the biology seminar series to learn more about Dr. Mosovsky’s research and asked about the possibility of doing a SOAR project with her. We met and discussed options for the focus of my project and I chose which direction I wanted to pursue.

What’s the best part about working with your faculty mentor? What valuable insights have they brought to your project?

Throughout SOAR, Dr. Mosovsky became one of my biggest supporters and mentors here at Moravian University. Her understanding, support, and kindness foster an incredible learning environment. Since Dr. Mosovsky has been working with these types of infection models for many years, she is extremely knowledgeable in the field and exceeds expectations as a mentor.

What has been your biggest obstacle so far?

The biggest obstacle in my research was the fact that my data were insignificant. It took a few days to figure out why this may be, but we were able to troubleshoot and develop a plan of action for the continuation of my research in the fall semester.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this experience?

Research is not quick; it is slow, detailed, and repetitive. For example, in order to have the minimum amount of data for my project, I had to complete the infection model three times, which took about three weeks of full time work, before even conducting the test that would give me the data in a few days.

What was the result of your project?

In the end, my data was insignificant and prompted more questions than it answered; however, because of this, I was keen on continuing my research and will be doing an honors project this upcoming year.

In your own words, how do you feel about being awarded this opportunity? Why should other students take advantage of the SOAR program at Moravian University?

I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to participate in research during undergrad, especially in a program where I worked so closely with my mentor. Although I don’t plan on going into research as a career, I do think that this experience was meaningful and important and that all students should dabble in some research at some point in their career at Moravian.

Now that SOAR is over, do you plan to expand upon your research? If so, how?

Yes, I will be continuing my research through an honors project with Dr. Mosovsky.

Have you, or do you plan to present this research outside the SOAR presentations? If so, where? Be specific, if possible.

I presented at the Landmark Research Symposium in July and plan on presenting more of my research as I continue it throughout this upcoming year.

Are there any aspects of the program (e.g., professional opportunities) that you participated in that you really liked and would want to see continued?

I think that the involvement of the Career and Civic Engagement Center was very helpful and could even be ramped up during SOAR. For example, a workshop where students work on resumes and meet with counselors to go over their specific resume may be beneficial, rather than just a presentation-style workshop.