University of Minnesota
MICaB Graduate Program
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Current Students

Sarah Namugenyi

Thesis Advisor: Anna Tischler

Year entered: 2013

Degrees received:
B.S., University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, 2008
M.S., George Washington University, Washington, DC, 2013

Honors and awards:

  • Viksnins, Harris & Padys MICaB Award, 2013
  • ASM Student travel award, 2016


Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the main cause of tuberculosis (TB), is able to establish a latent infection in 90% of people infected with the bacillus. Latent bacteria can become reactivated if left untreated developing into an active TB infection. Mtb primarily survives and replicates in the phagosomes of macrophages. A critical immune response to control Mtb is the activation of macrophages by inflammatory cytokine interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) to stimulate antimicrobial functions for example reactive oxygen and nitrogen species and maturation and acidification of phagosomes.However, Mtb has devised counter-immune mechanisms in order to evade the host's robust immune responses and thus remain in a latent and persistent state. My thesis project is based on the utilization of a murine infection model and high-throughput genetic technique Tn- seq to identify Mtb counter-immune mechanisms. This project has the potential to provide valuable information that can be utilized in the development of TB vaccines and therapies.


  • Namugenyi SB, Aagesen AM, Elliott SR, Tischler AD. 2017. Mycobacterium tuberculosis PhoY proteins promote persister formation by mediating Pst/SenX3-RegX3 phosphate sensing. mBio 8:e00494-17.