C. trachomatis, sexually transmitted infections of both the female and male human reproductive tract, affects approximately 127 million people globally each year. The major concerning sequela of C. trachomatis infection is infertility in both men and women. This occurs by damaging the upper reproductive tracts, the ovaries and testes most importantly.
The majority of research has been focussed on female disease, and male disease has been underestimated and understudied, particularly therapeutics for male infections. Antibiotic therapy is the only therapy currently available and this is not effective in all cases with significant treatment failure. However, recent data shows that male Chlamydia infections frequently reside within testicular macrophages, which then transmit infection to key testicular cell lineages including Sertoli, Leydig, and spermatogenic cells. Due to the unique structure and function of the testis, it may be difficult to clear these infections with conventional antibiotic therapy.
The aim of this project is to compare conventional and a novel, nanoparticle-delivered antibiotic therapy to eliminate infection in testicular cells. The novel approach will need to achieve clearance of infection with no cytotoxic effects on the host cells.
Hypothesis: Antibiotic-loaded nanoparticles will have increased uptake and chlamydial clearance efficiency in testicular cells compared to conventional antibiotic treatment.
Aim 1: To assess the cytotoxicity of the nanoparticles for testicular cells in vitro.
Aim 2: To assess the ability of standard versus nanoparticle-contained antibiotics to clear chlamydial infection in testicular cells.
Aim 3: To develop assays for detection of nanoparticle-contained antibiotics within testicular cells.
Approaches/Skills and techniques
Mammalian cell culture, chlamydial cell culture, immunocytochemistry, epifluorescent microscopy, light microscopy, flow cytometry, DNA/RNA extraction, qPCR, gel electrophoresis, data analysis using GraphPad Prism, written and oral communication skills.
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