Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Jeff Urbach

Reader 2

Sarah Marzen

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Rights Information

© 2019 Kelly Watanabe


Giardia lamblia is a single-celled protozoan parasite that when ingested, causes diarrheal disease and infects 33% of people in developing countries. Previous studies observe Giardia in water-like fluids, but Giardia's infectious environment consists of viscoelastic mucus in the small intestine. Therefore, Giardia was cultured in viscoelastic fluids, and its population growth was observed in vitro. To create shear-thinning viscoelastic fluids, 0.2% and 0.4% long-chain polyacrylamide (LCPAM) was added to cell culture media. Giardia was cultured in control media, 0.2% LCPAM, and 0.4% LCPAM, and population growth was quantitatively determined over time. Increasing LCPAM concentration resulted in a solution with higher viscosity and elasticity. Experimental results suggest that Giardia growth is delayed in more viscoelastic fluids, but the population adjusts to the viscoelastic environments over time.