Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2019

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology

First Advisor

Min Han

Second Advisor

Christy Fillman

Third Advisor

Stephanie Renfrow


The role of the gut microbiome in influencing human health has received increasing attention in the past decade, with many of the interactions between symbiont and host being elucidated. A recent study found that the siderophore enterobactin, secreted by E. coli to scavenge iron from its environment, is an essential metabolite for Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) development. The benefit of enterobactin, which appears to be conserved in mammals, carries potential for treating iron deficiency disorder. This thesis focuses on characterizing the nature of the interaction of C. elegans with siderophores other than enterobactin, to assess the uniqueness of the benefit enterobactin conveys to the host. By performing a series of assays with C. elegans, I provide evidence that yersiniabactin, ornibactin, and bacillibactin do not promote C. elegans growth, implying that these siderophores do not convey a benefit similar to enterobactin.