I work with the capping enzyme of Dengue, West Nile, and Yellow fever viruses. Using a fluorescence-based assay our lab developed, I test the capping enzyme for optimum conditions, determine important residues in the protein guanylation reaction, and potential chemical inhibitors for their ability to interfere with protein guanylation. We are also working to locate the (thus far elusive) guanylation active site. We have also begun using mass spectrometry to continue researching this enzyme as well as its interactions with other enzymes in the viral genomic replication complex. I am currently in the process of purifying Dengue capping enzyme for a high throughput screening project that will help us identify potential chemical inhibitors of the enzyme, which could lead to drug development down the road. Forty percent of the world's population lives in areas at risk for flavivirus infection and no vaccine or reliable treatment options exist, making this research very important.
I attended Colorado State University and earned my BS in biochemistry in 2010. I've been happily employed as a research associate since then while I apply to medical school for the 2011-2012 school year. I enjoy research and would still like to engage in it after attending medical school.
I really enjoy running (not just nickel columns…), climbing, cooking, making fun of my dearly beloved coworkers, and my lunch break. I have also recently gotten in to yoga, and have taught some moves to our grad student Jordan. Come by anytime and ask him to demonstrate for you his downward facing dog…