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Kassandra Zaila ’15 Presents Thesis Findings at Genetics Conference


Kassandra Zaila ’15 presented at The Allied Genetics Conference (TAGC) 2016 in Orlando, Florida, on July 14. She showcased her senior thesis findings in an oral presentation called, “Diversities of endosymbiotic Rickettsia in the fish parasite Ichthyophthirius multifiliis.”

Zaila’s thesis research focused on sampling the endosymbiotic bacteria harbored by Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, an obligate parasite affecting freshwater fish, and determining its mode of transmission. She discovered that the endosymbiotic bacterium Rickettsia is ubiquitously present in the ciliate protozoan I. multifiliis, and after molecular and phylogenetic analyses showed that it transmits horizontally. 

Zaila majored in biology at Hamilton and was a member of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society. She was named a 2015 Casstevens Research Scholar.

The conference was sponsored by the Genetics Society of America. Wei-Jen Chang, the Sidney Wertimer Associate Professor for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring, attended the event with Zaila.

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