2023-2024 Therapeutic Sciences Graduate Students
I am working in the Kurtis lab with the mission to combat P. falciparum malaria. Malaria continues to be a leading global infectious disease, claiming the lives of over 1,000 children daily. Our research is focused on developing vaccines, small-molecule drugs, and monoclonal antibodies designed with novel targets in mind, such as PIGARP.
With the overarching goal of achieving spatial and temporal control of the CRISPR-Cas9 biotechnology, my research involves understanding the structural and intrinsic dynamic properties of Cas9 with atomic level resolution using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) as my main technique.
I am interested in studying the atomic detail of small chemical and environmental changes to aggregation-prone proteins, including huntingtin, MAPT, and Sup35.
In the Morrison laboratory, we study the role of macrophage inflammation in vascular calcification. The primary goal of our laboratory is to define a critical pathway by which inflammatory macrophage signaling modulates atherosclerosis and calcification.
I am currently investigating the effects of drugs on chemosensitivity and blood brain barrier permeability for treatment of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma(DIPG). DIPG is a highly invasive pediatric brain tumor that affects children with a median age of 6-7 years old. There are currently no therapies that target invasion and a major obstacle for treatment is the blood brain barrier(BBB) which prevents the delivery of effective concentrations of drug into the brain. In the Lawler lab, we are working to provide a potential new therapeutic approach for the treatment of DIPG blocking invasion and enhancing drug delivery across the BBB.
My research focuses on a newly identified regulator of synaptic growth and function, TRMT9B. I’m using genetic, transcriptomic and biochemical approaches in Drosophila to explore how TRMT9B promotes nervous system development and function, with a focus on its role in stress resistance.
I am interested in studying the extracellular matrix, particularly the synthesis of collagen under various conditions, and correlating biochemical changes with biomechanics in an in vitro 3D model.
Toussaint & Dawson Labs
My research focuses on studying the role of senescence in pulmonary fibrosis extracellular matrix remodeling using nonlinear optical microscopy.
I am interested in understanding the mechanisms of interaction and RNA granule association of TDP-43, an intrinsically disordered protein associated with several neurodegenerative diseases including ALS, frontotemporal dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. More specifically, I use biophysical and biochemical techniques like NMR spectroscopy to study how structure and disease mutations in TDP-43 affect phase separation and aggregation.
Vascular remodeling is a prominent phenotype of Pulmonary Hypertension (PH), a deadly condition with unknown causes and no known treatment. Using in vivo models of pulmonary vascular disease, our lab has identified CHI3L1 and its receptors as major contributors of PH responses. My goal is to study the mechanisms that underlie vascular remodeling in PH and develop nanoparticle-based drug delivery systems against CHI3L1 and its receptors to treat vascular remodeling in PH.
My focus is elucidating the role of the complement cascade in myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), a class of rare blood cancers. I'm interested in how dysregulation of the complement cascade contributes to the inflammatory processes underlying the progression of MPNs.
I engineer proteins to serve as genetically encoded fluorescent sensors for studying the physiology and pharmacology of the brain. My projects include developing a new generation of genetically encoded voltage sensors, neuropeptide and neurotransmitter sensors, and a protein based gene delivery system for studying neural networks.
Atypical sensory perception is common throughout neurodevelopment disorders (NDDs) and can negatively impact cognitive processes that rely on the integration of information from multiple sensory modalities. The focus of my research is to draw comparisons in visual circuit development, synaptic plasticity, and multi-sensory integration between normal and NDD conditions by probing nervous system function of Xenopus tadpoles using electrophysiology and in vivo imaging, which will help improve the current understanding of how abnormal circuitry arises in the context of NDD.
Protein liquid-liquid separation (LLPS) is a captivating phenomenon in cellular biology where certain proteins, often intrinsically disordered, spontaneously assemble into liquid droplets within cells, resembling the separation of oil and water. These dynamic biomolecular condensates, driven by a delicate balance of attractive and repulsive forces, serve as hubs for various cellular processes, including transcriptional regulation and stress response. LLPS has implications beyond cellular organization, playing a crucial role in several neurodegenerative disorders. My goal is to understand LLPS, exploring fresh perspectives on cellular organization and potential therapeutic avenues.
My research focuses on understanding the role of Intrinsically Disordered Proteins in neurodegenerative diseases, and characterizing the structural and residue specific contributions to complex assemblies such as biomolecular condensates.
The Shukla lab for Designer Biomaterials works at the intersection of biomaterials science and biomedical engineering to develop "smart biomaterials" with stimuli-responsive and targeted properties for clinical applications. My research focuses on designing targeted drug delivery systems for the treatment of fungal infections.