Document Type

Honors Project

Publication Date



Biomphalaria glabrata is a freshwater snail that is an intermediate host to the parasite Schistosoma mansoni, a parasite that infects humans causing a debilitating and neglected tropical disease - schistosomiasis. B. glabrata can either be susceptible or resistant to S. mansoni infection. The immune response of both resistant and susceptible B. glabrata to the parasite has been studied extensively, but the snail’s central nervous system (CNS) has not been studied much. Furthermore, research has shown that other parasites release chemicals in the host that ultimately alter the production of certain chemicals in the CNS. Therefore, we are interested in studying how the CNS of B. glabrata is altered by infection or exposure to the parasite. Using RNA-sequencing, we are examining the potential changes in gene expression in NMRI (susceptible strain) and BS-90 (resistant strain) snails in response to S. mansoni at 1, 2, and 4 weeks post-exposure. Additionally, we are examining whether there are differences in the CNS gene expression profiles between uninfected NMRI and BS-90 strains. Our results demonstrate changes in gene expression in infected NMRI compared to uninfected snails. Moreover, a surprising result that we did not expect was that there are differences in the CNS between uninfected NMRI and BS-90 strains.

Level of Honors

magna cum laude




Judith Humphries