Department or Program

Biological Chemistry


Borrelia burgdorferi is the causative agent of Lyme disease, infecting over three hundred thousand people every year in US. During the life span, these spirochetes transmit between arthropod vectors, such as ticks, and vertebrate hosts, such as us. Changing hosts results in different growth environments and differential expression of genes in B. burgdorferi cells. We hypothesize that in B. burgdorferi, as in other bacterial species, that the translation and degradation of RNA transcripts are affected by their subcellular localization patterns.

B. burgdorferi cells are long about 25 mm, and narrow, with a cytoplasm that is only about 200 nm wide. This width is approximately the diffraction limit of light, and therefore the resolution limit, of many fluorescence-inducing lasers. To gain resolution sufficient to observe the subcellular RNA localization pattern in these narrow bacteria, I have employed stimulated emission depletion (STED) microscopy to surpass the light diffraction limit and resolve a detailed localization pattern of important RNA transcripts in B. burgdorferi cells.

Level of Access

Restricted: Embargoed [Bates Community After Expiration]

First Advisor

Schlax, Paula

Date of Graduation


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Number of Pages


Components of Thesis

1 pdf file


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