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Zechiedrich Laboratory

Houston, Texas

Supercoils in architecture echo the structure of DNA.
Zechiedrich Lab
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Milenka Arevalo-Soliz, Ph.D.

Photo of Milenka Arevalo-Soliz, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow
August 2010 – present
Department of Molecular Virology & Microbiology
Phone: 713-798-2380
Fax: 713-798-7375

My research interests are to explore the use of Minivector DNA as a tool for studying DNA transactions and as a vector for gene therapy.

Using labeled minivector DNAs to study the mechanisms of cell transfection and DNA homology-promoted attraction

I have been using fluorescently labeled DNA minivectors to study cell transfection. Cell transfection and nuclear import are the most critical and limiting steps for the success of non-viral gene delivery. This research will allow us to better understand these limitations so that we can enhance the utility of minivectors for more targeted therapies. Labeled DNA will also allow us to study DNA homology promoted attraction in vivo. This is an important event in DNA repair mechanisms and holds potential for genetic therapy applications. I am also working on the application of DNA minivectors to target pancreatic cancer, a deadly disease with one of the lowest survival rates. Current non-viral gene therapy research on pancreatic cancer has shown success with shRNA. However this therapy requires repeated doses, which brings the burden of toxicity associated with the use of transfection reagents.


Human Frontier Science Program


2009 - Winner, student poster session. 2nd Arkansas NSF EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) Annual Meeting. Little Rock, AR.
2009 - Third place, oral paper. Gamma Sigma Delta Symposium, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
2004, 2006, 2007, 2010: Graduate School travel grants, University of Arkansas, to attend the International Annual Meetings of the ASA, CSSA, and SSSA,the 17TH Biennial International Plant Resistance to Insects Workshop, the Plant Biology and Botany Joint Congress, and the Plant and Animal Genome XVIII Conference.
2003 - Second place, poster presentation. Beltwide Cotton Physiology Conference, Nashville, TN.


Arévalo-Soliz, L.M., D.M. Oosterhuis, D.L. Coker and R.S. Brown. 2008. Physiological response of cotton to high night temperatures. The American Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology 2: 63-68.
Carlos A. Avila, Lirio M. Arévalo-Soliz, Lingling Jia, Duroy A. Navarre, Zhaorigetu Chen, Gregg A. Howe, Qing-Wei Meng, Jonathon E. Smith, and Fiona L. Goggin. 2011. Loss of function of FATTY ACID DESATURASE 7 in tomato enhances aphid resistance in a salicylate-dependent manner (Submitted to The Plant Journal).
Arévalo-Soliz, L.M., Howard, L. and Goggin, F. Role of jasmonic acid in the enhancement of the antioxidant capacity and nutraceutical quality of tomato fruits. (In preparation).
Arévalo-Soliz, L.M., Avila, C.A. and Goggin, F. Role of alpha dioxygenase 1 (α-DOX1) in aphid resistance of the FAD7 tomato mutant spr2. (In preparation).
Research Presentations
Bakkalbasi, E., Arevalo-Soliz, M., Van der Heijden, G., Catanese, D.J., Fogg, J.M., and Zechiedrich, L. "Site-specific labeling of supercoiled DNA and homology-promoted DNA-DNA interactions." 11th Annual Awardees Meeting of the Human Frontier Science Program, Montreal, Canada 06/2011, poster.