Associate Professor Mark Forsyth has been named the current English-Stonehouse Professor. Forsyth arrived at William and Mary in 2000 after professor and fellow positions at Vanderbilt University. Forsyth received a B.A from the University of Maine in 1982 and a PhD. from the University of Connecticut in 1991. His current research is focused on the examination of the mechanisms by which bacterial pathogens cause disease. The experimental model system utilized most in the lab is the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, a human gastric pathogen that infects the stomachs of nearly 50 percent of the world's population. This bacterium is the etiologic agent of gastric and duodenal ulcers, and infection with this bacterium is a very strong predisposing factor for the development of gastric cancers.
English-Stonehouse Student Fellows
Girolama Bui - Girolama is senior this year with a self designed major in Public Health, but trying to complete a biology bachelors degree as well. He has conducted research in our lab since his sophomore year in cluding work over the summers of 2011 and 2012. His project involves determining the sequence of a cryptic, partially deleted prophage sequence (a viral DNA sequence contained as a genetic parasite within a bacterial DNA genome). Girolama's work has helped us show that this unusual viral DNA element may be present in isolates of a human stomach bacterium at a frequencies higher than most researchers ever imagined.
Vivian Cooper - Vivian is a senior and a member of our lab since her freshman year. She was an English-Stonehouse Fellow in the summer of 2012. VIvian is working on a hyper-mutable DNA sequence in the promoter region of the gene sabA of Helicobacter pylori. The product of sabA is an important virulence factor of H. pylori, mediating attachment of the bacterium to the human stomach lining cells. Vivian has made mutations in this sequence and is getting ready to test the effects on expression of the sabA gene.
Ariel Eclipse - Ariel is a junior who has been an undergraduate researcher in the lab since her freshman year and was an English-Stonehouse Fellow during the summer of 2012. Ariel's project involves an unusual gene found among less virulent isolates of the bacterial pathogen Helicobacter pylori . She has shown the gene is absent or present in degraded forms (as pseudogenes) in more dangerous isolates of this bacterium. She has also identified this gene in a full-length, perhaps ancestral form in Helicobacter cetorum, a gastric pathogen of whales and dolphins which may reflect a relationship between the jump of this bacterium into early humans.