Samantha K. Murphy fulfilled the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at LSU Health Shreveport on September 18, 2020. Her Dissertation is titled “Rotavirus NSP1 inhibition of the interferon response by localization to the nucleus and disruption of PML nuclear bodies,” in the lab of Dr. Michelle M. Arnold. Rotavirus causes severe, watery diarrhea in young children and infants and promotes the spread in the intestinal tract by encoding the interferon (IFN) antagonist, nonstructural protein 1 (NSP1). NSP1 degrades key signaling proteins in the cytoplasm to inhibit the IFN response. Samantha has discovered that NSP1 localizes to the nucleus during infection and disrupts promyelocytic leukemia bodies (PML bodies). PML bodies are known to play a role in the interferon response, so it is possible NSP1 can control the IFN in the nucleus through disruption of PML bodies.
Samantha was very active during her graduate student years, serving as Vice President of the Public Relations for the student organization Science Matters at LSU Health Shreveport, and presenting talks at different venues, including the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Virology in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Among other awards she received “Best Talk” at the LSU Health Shreveport Graduate Research day in April, 2019, and the Charles S. McClesky Award for Outstanding Talk in Virology at the American Society for Microbiology South Center Branch Meeting at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi.
Samantha received her B.S. and M.S. in Biological Sciences, Molecular and Cellular Concentration in 2013 (Cum Laude) and 2015, respectively, at LSUS. Samantha was an excellent student and worked as a lab manager and as a graduate and undergraduate teaching and research assistant for several investigators, including Dr. Tara Williams-Hart on her LBRN project “Assessment of the Molecular Target of Fusarochromanone and its Analogues.”