Credentials: Staph aureus toxin effects on vascular repair and development of infective endocarditis
Position title: she/her/hers
Website: Studio Website
Sharon Tang is an artist, muralist, and scientist. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Queens, NY, Sharon took the scenic route while making her way to the Midwest. After completing her undergraduate degree in Studio Art and Russian Studies in upstate New York, she taught kindergarten and 1st grade in Washington, DC for several years and then earned her masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology in Baltimore. She finally landed in Madison in 2013 and has made it home ever since.Sharon creates her own oil and acrylic paintings in her home studio and is broadly driven by the intersections found in discovery, creativity, communication, and connection with others. She is thrilled to combine these interests through mural making to help communities engage in the spaces around them. In addition to painting and designing murals, Sharon is currently a cell and molecular biology PhD candidate studying wound healing in Staphylococcus aureus bacterial infections of the heart. She believes there is incredible potential to enhance the accessibility of science through art and finds a beautiful balance swapping between petri dishes and paint brushes every day.
My research focus consists of exploring host-pathogen interactions and pathogenic effects on tissue repair, and I currently study this in a disease called Staphylococcus aureus infective endocarditis (IE). S. aureus IE is a bacterial infection in the inner endothelial lining of the heart. It is known for vegetative lesions that develop along the heart valves paired with inflammatory tissue damage. While many microbes can cause IE, S. aureus is the most common and the most tissue destructive. When the disease progresses, it can lead to life-threatening complications such as strokes, organ failure, and toxic shock. In my lab, I study specific toxins (superantigens) that are secreted by S. aureus to determine how they affect endothelial cell biology and contribute to IE. I use cardiac cell lines and aortic organ explants to understand how these toxins affect endothelial cell behaviors needed for wound healing and measure how toxins impair the new capillary growth that is necessary to repair IE tissue damage.