Andrea Sánchez-Peña

Andrea Sanchez-PenaMicrobiology Graduate Student

Lab: Dominique Limoli, PhD

Year Entered Into Program: 2018



Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a genetic disease caused by mutations in the ion transport channel gene, CFTR. This results in reduced mucociliary clearance, leading to mucus accumulation in the airways, providing a perfect niche for infections. The airways of people with CF are persistently infected with a diverse array of microorganisms throughout their lives. Among these microorganisms, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are the two most frequently coisolated bacterial species from CF lungs, and their coinfection is associated with poor patient outcomes. Therefore, our goal is to understand how interspecies interactions between these organisms may contribute to the association between coinfection and negative health outcomes for patients.  

Our single-cell, time-lapse imaging showed that P. aeruginosa senses S. aureus from a distance, directionally moves towards it using its type-IV pili, and then surrounds and invades the S. aureus clusters. My work focuses on elucidating the consequences of P. aeruginosa type IV-pili-mediated directional motility on S. aureus, through the live imaging of these interactions in 3D using high-resolution, high-speed, confocal microscopy.



B.S., Cellular-Molecular Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus (2018)



2023-2024 Scientist Mentoring & Diversity Program for Biotechnology (SMDP Biotech)

2019-2021 NIH Multidisciplinary Lung Research Career Development Program T32 #5T32HL007638-34



Wang, G. Z., Warren, E. A., Haas, A. L., Sánchez Peña, A., Kiedrowski, M. R., Lomenick, B., Chou, T. F., Bomberger, J.M., Tirrell, D.A., Limoli, D. H. Staphylococcal secreted cytotoxins are competition sensing signals for Pseudomonas aeruginosa. bioRxiv. doi:10.1101/2023.01.29.526047 (2023).

Yarrington, K. D.1, Sánchez Peña, A.1, Limoli, D. H. Kinetic Visualization of Single-Cell Interspecies Bacterial Interactions. J. Vis. Exp. (162), e61376, doi:10.3791/61376 (2020). 1. Authors contributed equally.