Ms. Erickson's thesis focused on the regulation of intestinal mucosal inflammatory signaling by the pregnane X receptor (PXR), a xenobiotic sensor reported to be activated by commensal microbial metabolites. Using a variety of in vitro and in vivo techniques, Sarah tested the hypothesis that the PXR regulates the inflammatory response to bacterial virulence factors and secreted toxins.
Ms. Alston was with the Hirota lab from the start, supporting our in vivo work and managing all aspects of the laboratory. With a vast skillset and years of experience, Laurie was the rock in the lab! In 2019, Laurie decided to hang up the pipette and enjoy more time in her garden and taking wonderful photographs of nature!