Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
I am studying coronavirus entry, specifically Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV), into a wide range of host species. CoVs have an expansive animal host range, which is due to their ability to adapt to diverse cellular environments and utilize different entry pathways to mediate viral-host cell membrane fusion and infect the cell. Hosttropism, specifically for MERS-CoV, is due to its unique flexibility to use various triggers (i.e. pH, ions, proteases, receptors) within the cell to mediate viral fusion. MERS-CoV binds to dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4), a highly conserved receptor widely expressed in different tissues (i.e. lungs and kidney)contributing to its prevalence throughout a wide range of species.Ultimately, I plan on developing a tunable and controllable platform to gain a deeper understanding on the components of receptor binding and membrane fusion that give rise to MERS-CoV tropism.With the knowledge of the viral entry pathway across multiple species, we gain more insight on possible ways to block it.
As a part of my professional development, I am involved in the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Graduate Student Association (ChEGSA) as the Social Chair.I help organize and plan various events that help foster a fun and relaxing environment for graduate students outside the lab. I am also part of the Graduate Alumni Reunion Committee and Symposium Committee to network with CBE alumni and learn more about our peers’ research through poster and oral presentations. Lastly, I organized this past year’s WOMEN event as CBE Women’s Outreach Coordinator where we promote STEM to high school girls within upstate New York.
Outside the lab, I enjoy photography, shopping, skiing, roadtrips across New England, and checking out fun areas to explore through Instagram.