Zachary is a rising junior at VT and worked with GlycoMIP over the summer. He is studying biochemistry and worked with Dr. Richard Helm on a project looking at the cell wall structure of B. burgdorferi, the bacteria responsible for lyme disease.
His research this summer focused on the Lyme disease-causing bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, specifically its cell wall structure. Based on observations of Lyme disease symptoms occurring when components of the cell wall of B. burgdorferi were directly injected into a mouse model, it was clear that the cell wall of this bacteria is implicated in the mechanism of Lyme disease. There has also been a structural deviation from the norm observed in their cell wall. His work involved taking samples of this cell wall, purifying them, and analyzing their structures to determine the nature of this structural difference and how it may be related to understanding and treating Lyme disease.