Maggie Braunreuther

Doctoral Candidate

San Jose, California

B.S.E. Chemical Engineering, University of Michigan, 2019.

Research Focus

Effective muco-ciliary clearance is vital for healthy airway function, as it acts as a primary defense against foreign particles and infectious agents. Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease that is characterized by hindered ion transport in airway epithelial cells. As a result, the mucus secreted by these cells becomes dehydrated and very thick. This change in mucus properties can severely impair muco-ciliary clearance, leading to airway obstruction, chronic infection, and inflammatory lung damage.

We aim to understand the interplay between mucus viscoelasticity and muco-ciliary clearance to better inform drug development. To this end, we will use a combination of confocal microscopy and the Live Cell Rheometer developed by the Fuller lab to measure the viscoelastic properties of mucus in situ. This method will allow us the flexibility to study mucus properties over a wide range of length scales and biologically relevant environmental conditions.