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  • Alex Cloherty

My PhD in 100 words

Updated: Apr 21

This week on Microbial Mondays, this is all I've got: the topic of my PhD, explained jargon-free in 100 words. I was asked to sum it up for a course I'm taking through my graduate school. I always find that keeping things succinct is actually more difficult than writing a lengthy piece. So here is my mini-masterpiece for today:


You've heard about Marie Kondo, right? It turns out, so has every cell in your body. Just like your apartment prior to lockdown-cleaning, cells can accumulate unwanted stuff. For cells, however, this can be a life-or-death scenario. That unwanted stuff within cells can be dangerous - such as invading viruses. The good news is, cells have a built-in system for recycling that unwanted stuff. My research focuses on this system, termed autophagy, and on better understanding its mechanics in order to fine-tune autophagy during infections with HIV, Dengue virus, and SARS-CoV-2. I want to help your cells recycle their viruses.


Readers, what do you think? Comments and critiques are welcome. And, let me know if you like these bite-sized, jargon-free explanations. If you do, I can try to incorporate more of them in the regularly rolling Microbial Mondays content.


A longer post will be coming back next week! In the meantime, take care and have a great week.


~ Alex

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