Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

Biology & Biomedical Sciences (Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Cryptosporidium is a genus of protozoan parasites that causes diarrheal disease in humans and other animals. There are two major species that cause disease in humans: C. parvum, which infects both humans and animals, and C. hominis, which primarily infects humans. A recent study investigating the etiologies of pediatric diarrheal illness in Africa and South Asia found that Cryptosporidium is the 2nd most prevalent cause of diarrhea in infants and may be a contributing factor to chronic malnutrition. This discovery has led to renewed interest in studying this parasite and a reexamination of the barriers to studying Cryptosporidium. The main obstacle hindering research on this parasite is that it cannot be propagated in vitro and instead must be passaged through large animals such as calves to generate infectious oocysts. The cell culture models that are available rely on adenocarcinoma cells and only support a few days of growth and do not enable complete life cycle development in vitro. These limitations have stalled the development of research tools for investigating Cryptosporidium biology and have also slowed developmental progress of new therapies.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Laurence D. Sibley

Committee Members

Megan Baldridge, Daniel Goldberg, Audrey Odom John, Thaddeus Stappenbeck,