Katy Patras, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

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Katy grew up in the Midwest where she received a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and worked under Dr. Jennifer Wood studying the expression of the mitotic kinases Nek2 and Nek4 in the ovary during estrus. For her graduate research, Katy joined Dr. Kelly Doranís laboratory at San Diego State University (SDSU). Her dissertation focused on the interaction of group B Streptococcus (GBS), the leading cause of bacterial meningitis in neonates, with the human female vaginal tract, which is the primary environment where neonates are first exposed to the bacterium. Her primary goal was to develop and utilize a novel, relevant mouse model of GBS vaginal colonization to characterize the key host and bacterial factors that contribute to maternal vaginal colonization and transmission to the vulnerable newborn. During her graduate work, Katy was supported by an Achievement Rewards for College Scientists (ARCS) Scholar Award, and an Inamori Fellowship.

For her postdoctoral work in the Nizet lab, Katy is continuing to examine critical innate immune responses to microbial pathogens within the female reproductive tract, including GBS, which are important to both maternal and neonatal health. She will also study the impact of steroid hormones on mucosal immunity and the vaginal microflora. This research is conducted in continued collaboration Kelly Doran at SDSU Department of Biology.