Hello! My name is Gabrielle Huizinga and I am a rising 2nd year Immunology PhD student. My project is focusing on the complications of obesity and type 2 diabetes in the clearance of respiratory bacterial infections. It is well known that patients who are obese and/or have type 2 diabetes have significantly higher rates of morbidity and mortality during respiratory infections, however, the mechanisms behind this are still unclear. I am still in the very beginning phase of my project, but it appears that there may be some differences in how obesity impacts clearance of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, so I will be investigating that. Additionally, with the coronavirus pandemic, we are investigating the role of obesity in coronavirus clearance.
One of the difficult things about doing a PhD during a pandemic is that most days are different. My labs are on a “shift” schedule, meaning that we can either come in during the morning or the afternoon. Typically I am on the afternoon shift. In the morning I catch up on reading, any data analysis that I can do from home, or study for my upcoming preliminary exam. In the afternoon, I head into lab to perform various mouse infection assays. I try to take evenings off to hang out with my dog, boyfriend, and roommates!
The Immunology Graduate Program at the University of Michigan has extremely diverse faculty and new faculty are coming in all the time! It is super easy to find collaborators and everyone has been extremely supportive.
I volunteer at a local humane society as a dog walker and in their puppy intake department! My boyfriend and I also love discovering local breweries and wineries.
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