Sarah Stern

Mentor: Dr. Stephanie Karst
College of Medicine
"My interest in research is multifaceted. My passion for research stems from my love of problem solving and desire to understand how the world works. There is also a sense of satisfaction that comes from knowing that the knowledge acquired from research projects that I have been involved in might one day be used to create treatments for norovirus that will improve the length and quality of life for people all around the world."


Interdisciplinary Studies: Basic Biology and Medicine



Research Interests

  • Virology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology

Academic Awards

  • Junior Honors Medical Program
  • Dean's List
  • University Scholars Program
  • Florida Bright Futures


  • Skin Cancer Prevention Force (SPF)


  • Helping Hands Clinic
  • Ronald McDonald House Family Room
  • Shands Hospital

Hobbies and Interests

  • Tap Dancing

Research Description

The Effect of Bacteria upon Norovirus Stability
Human noroviruses (HuNoVs) cause a majority of gastroenteritis outbreaks across the globe and are recognized as the leading cause of both severe childhood diarrhea and foodborne disease outbreaks in the United States. In impoverished parts of the world, they are estimated to cause over one million clinic visits and 200,000 deaths in young children annually. Therefore, effective and long-lasting HuNoV vaccines and therapeutics are thus a critical need. A major contributing factor to the widespread transmission of this pathogen is its extreme stability in the environment and it has been demonstrated to survive on fomites, in water and soil for weeks, months or years, respectively. It is suggested the bacteria provide a co-factor that enhance bacterial attachment to target cells during infection and bacterial LPS is known to enhance the stability of another enteric virus (poliovirus). Currently, it is unknown precisely how noroviruses interact with bacteria. Therefore, the goals of this project are to understand the conditions which promote this interaction and to elucidate how this interaction impacts the survival of this virus under a variety of conditions associated with disease transmission.