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Department of Biochemistry

 

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Background

2017 B.S. Physiology/Neurobiology, University of Maryland, College Park.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute EXROP Student researchship - University of California, San Francisco (Joseph DeRisi lab).

 

Research

The rise and spread of antimalarial resistance is a growing global health concern.

Plasmodium, the malaria parasite, is a unique and interesting organism, with a number of biological features and characteristics that present challenges in the face of drug resistance.

Plasmodium belongs to the phylum Apicomplexa. Members of this phylum contain a remnant chloroplast called the apicoplast. While it is no longer photosynthetic, this relict plastid is essential and critical for parasite survival. Therefore, inhibiting the apicoplast is a promising avenue for novel antimalarial development.

This organelle has its own genome and is transcriptionally active. Very little is known about how this genome is expressed and how expression is regulated. It is known that disruption of apicoplast gene expression inhibits the organelle, and kills the parasite.

I am therefore interested in understanding how apicoplast transcripts are processed and in elucidating the molecular mechanism by which gene-specific transcripts are expressed. I hope that my research will uncover new antimalarial drug targets, and aid the global effort to eradicate malaria.

 

Funding 

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Gates-Cambridge Scholar.