Mentor: Dr. Lynn Zechiedrich
July 2010 - Present
Key Words: Nucleic Acid, Gene Therapy, Minivector, Antiviral, Influenza, Evolution
My interests are in the engineering and design of DNA vectors to improve their utility for human gene therapy and as basic research tools. My current project regards the use of minivector DNA as a prophylaxis against pandemic influenza by exploiting the RNA interference pathway.
Vector Design & Minimization – I study and implement pre-production considerations of vector design including the optimization of promoters, sequence motifs, vector size, and ORF selection. Vector minimization is a pre-production strategy that is implemented during minivector generation via site-specific recombination. Mechanical and biological effects of minimizing vector size are also studied in our laboratory.
Please see – Jonathan Fogg’s page for more information.
Please see – Jamie Catanese’s page for more information
Vector Engineering – I study and implement novel post-production considerations in vector design, which we hope will allow flexibility and modularity in human gene therapy. We are working on a number of proprietary processes by which we may modify or label specific sites on circular DNA vectors with fluorophores, linkers, adaptors, peptides, and many other small molecules.
Please see – Milenka Arevalo-Soliz for additional information.
Antiviral gene therapy – My thesis work is on the utility of minivectors as an all-DNA prophylaxis against influenza A. For this work I collaborate with Dr. Brian Gilbert, an expert and active researcher in the field of delivery of antiviral agents against RSV and Influenza A.
- Molecular Basis of Infectious Disease (MBID) UT-HSC Training Grant 2011- Present
- Baylor Research Advocates for Student Scientists (BRASS) Scholar 2010- Present
- Rice U Trustee’s Distinguished Leadership Scholarship 2006-2010
- Rice U Century Research Award 2006-2008
- 1st Place (Undergraduate), Institute for Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) Poster Session 2008
- 1st Place (Natural Sciences), Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium (RURS) 2007