The end is here!

The end of summer is here and my research has finished! This summer has been an incredible learning experience for me. Not only have I learned a vast amount of molecular techniques, I have learned how to be more independent on my research.

This summer I have been studying capsule expression in Streptococcus parauberis, a disease in the Chesapeake Bay that infects striped bass. In order to fully understand the capsules present in cow and fish strains of S. parauberis, I performed PCR with primers designed to hyaluronic acid and polysaccharide capsules as well as microscopy to visually see the difference in expression. However, my PCR reactions were much more helpful in understanding expression than microscopy. The results were supported by the hypothesis that fish would express a CPS capsule while cattle would express the HAS capsule.  Microscopy was unsuccessful as I was unable to see a difference in capsule sizes in any of my strains. Even my positive controls, which are known to express CPS or HAS, were not revealing any difference in capsule expression visually. All strains were treated with hylaruonidase, an enzyme that will break down hyaluronic acid to reveal a change in capsule size. However, this method was also unsuccessful. After researching various methods of comparing capsule sizes, I have found that it may be a more in depth process then what I have been doing thus far. Dr. Haines, at Norfolk State University, will use my results this summer and the research I have conducted for continuing efforts to understand this emerging pathogen in the Chesapeake Bay. I am excited to see where this opportunity to research fish in the Bay will take me, whether I continue to research at William and Mary or find a lab at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

This summer experience would not have been possible without the help of Dr. Forsyth and Stephen Cole and the funds of the Louis English-Stonehouse Student Research Fellowship. I appreciate all that they have done for me and without this experience, I would not have the chance to learn what field of science interests me and the methods of conducting research. Again, thank you so much!!


  1. This research sounds very interesting. I’m sorry that your hypothesis didn’t work out, and hope that the technique will be further developed in the future.