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Thiel student working in lab with faculty mentor on Listeria and intestinal microbiota research


GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College student researcher Tina Davison ’21 is conducting research into Listeria monocytogenes and the immune system defense against the pathogen. Her research is the continuation of a Greenville Neuromodulation Center Faculty/Student Research Institute project that started in 2015 and is being mentored by the Institute’s Director and Assistant Professor of Biology Delbert Abi Abdallah, Ph.D.

Listeria is a food-borne pathogen that can cause serious disease and Davison’s research has focused on neutrophil cells and their role during the infection. A separate project that Davison is working on is looking at whether adolescent nicotine exposure affects intestinal bacterial composition.

“My objective with my student researcher this summer is to give her the freedom to critically think and problem solve the project on her own with the guidance needed to effectively create an independent researcher in the lab,” Abi Abdallah said. “Which is an objective of the GNC research institute as well.”  

Davison, a biology major from Greenville, Pa. is a 2016 graduate of Reynolds High School. She works with two strains of Listeria and methods of analysis that include western blot tests and an immunofluorescence microscope.

“What I love about doing research with the GNC this summer is the ability to be an independent researcher in the lab where I get the guidance needed to think about the next steps and the freedom to work my way through those problems independently”, Davison said. “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to work in the lab with Dr. Abi Abdallah on this research project.”

Abi Abdallah earned a Bachelor of Science with a major in microbiology and cell science and a minor in chemistry from the University of Florida. He completed his graduate studies with a doctorate in immunology and infectious disease from Cornell University. He began teaching at Thiel College in 2014.

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Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 24 varsity sports, and an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2016 and remains committed to combining tradition with innovation.

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