Nicole Loeven

B.S., 2016, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Wells College, Aurora, NY
Advisor: James Bliska

Research Interests

After graduating from Wells College with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I began Stony Brook University's Ph.D. program in the Molecular Genetics and Microbiology. As of May 2017, I joined the laboratory of Dr. James Bliska in the Center for Infectious Disease. The goal of my research project aims to investigate the way in which the environmental Gram-negative opportunistic pathogen Burkholderia cenocepacia interacts with the host immune system. Cystic fibrosis patients make up the population that is most commonly diagnosed with B. cenocepacia infections, however other immunocompromised individuals are also susceptible. B. cenocepacia’s characteristic antibiotic resistance makes treating these patients difficult. Our interests currently lie in studying activation of the pyrin inflammasome by RhoA inactivation via secreted bacterial effector protein, TecA. We hypothesize that B. cenocepacia purposefully co-opts pyrin to cause immunopathology to survive in the lungs or cause bacteremia in the human host. Murine infection models and wild-type and tecA mutant B. cenocepacia will be used to study the role of TecA and pyrin in infection.

Honors and Awards

Phi Beta Kappa and the Eleanor C. McMullen Biology Prize

Graduate Student Association Resource Action Project Grant to attend the EQUALS Excellence and Quality in Academic Life in STEM Conference. May 11-12, 2017, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Candada.


River Flow Impacts Cyanobacterial Blooms on Tainter Lake. National Conference for Undergraduate Research, University of North Carolina-Asheville, NC, April 2016.