Taylor Glausen has always had a natural thirst for knowledge, which serves her well in her research at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“I have always been interested in asking ‘why?’ and finding the answers to those questions,” says Glausen, who was attracted to the Jacobs School because of its various research options.
“I really liked the fact that in the PhD program in biomedical sciences you enter under an umbrella-type program,” Glausen says. “When I came to UB, I wanted to do neuroscience, but I was able to look at other fields as well. I appreciated that early on in the program you have the ability to explore more subjects.”
She chose to study infectious diseases as a doctoral student in microbiology and immunology.
Specifically, she studies Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite that affects about a quarter of the world’s population and can lead to toxoplasmosis and other diseases.
“In immunocompromised individuals, this parasite can induce a disease where the host exhibits seizures. I’m trying to understand how T. gondii induces seizures in the infected host,” says Glausen, who earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York. “There are a lot of moving parts to the story. I like trying to figure out what cells are involved, what the parasite is doing and how the host is responding to it.”
She is studying under the direction of her mentor, Ira J. Blader, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology and a leader in the field of toxoplasma infections.
“Dr. Blader has really helped me increase my scientific skills across a broad spectrum. He’s helped me become a better presenter and a better scientist. He’s also encouraged me to always think outside the box,” says Glausen, a native of Stony Brook, New York. “He’s really helped me figure out what I’m interested in and what’s the best way to get there.”