College of Arts and Sciences Department of Biology
Alissa Carissimi Contact Information

Alissa Carissimi

Graduate Program: M.S. Thesis

Major Professor: Dr. Matthew Parris

Research Interest

Working with animals has always been a passion of mine and more specifically, understanding the host pathogen interactions that species encounter in wild populations. The disease chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungal pathogen, Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has been wiping out frog populations on every country except Antarctica. Recent research has focused on the use of anti-fungal treatments and probiotic bacteria to treat Bd infection; I will be integrating probiotic bacteria such as Janthinobacterium lividum and Pseudomonas fluorescens which have been shown to inhibit Bd on amphibian species that have resistance to mitigate the disease. However, amphibian immunity is like a puzzle and acquired probiotic bacteria from the environment are not the only pieces to defend against Bd infection.  

The innate amphibian immune response to Bd infection serves as the first line of defense against pathogens and this includes antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) that are secreted from the granular glands of amphibians when pathogens encounter their epidermal tissues. There are several families of AMPs that inhibit Bd growth in laboratory inhibition assays. Hence, I will be testing for not only the effects of probiotic treatments on disease susceptibility but also the crosstalk that may occur between the innate and acquired amphibian immune responses to Bd infection. 


Office Location: Ellington Hall 122

Spring 2015 Office Hours

By Appointment Only

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Last Updated: 1/22/15