I am currently developing recombinant Sindbis viruses containing ribozymes which are targeted to knock down gene expression. I am in the process of proving that it is possible to knock down gene expression by targeting Renilla luciferase with virus encoded ribozymes. These studies will provide us with valuable data that we will use to target cellular genes in subsequent experiments. Our goal is to use these ribozyme-expressing viruses to knock down survivin mRNA, which encodes a protein that is involved in chemoresistance during chemotherapy. I am also working with Jordan to optimize our plasmid-based virus expression system using plaque assays, which I am also using to produce ribozyme-expressing viruses. Overall, my research is working towards developing these recombinant Sindbis viruses so that they can be used as cancer therapeutics.
I am currently completing my penultimate year of undergraduate study in Microbiology, and will begin applying to PhD or MD-PhD programmes during summer 2011.
When outside of the lab, I really enjoy travelling and exploring. I travel to New York City every two months, London, England twice a year, and am fond of skiing in France and Colorado during the winters. Other than travelling and skiing, I love museums, philosophy discussions, and indie/foreign films and music.