Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program
- Presidential Life Science Fellowship
I am investigating aspects of coronavirus entry triggers into host cells. This is an important area because coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome, have caused severe outbreaks in the past and are strong candidates to mutate and cause future outbreaks. Recent advances have shown that the coronavirus spike protein, which mediates viral entry into cells, contains neutralizing epitopes and is activated by a combination of triggers. My work utilizes total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy to watch viral fusion at the single particle level alongside molecular biology techniques to characterize entry neutralizing antibodies. Hopefully, my studies will shed greater insight into the factors that activate viral host cell entry and possible techniques to block it.
As part of my professional development, I have been heavily engaged with the department’s women’s group alongside the Graduate Society of Women Engineers as the treasurer. In addition to securing funding to support the group’s activities, I have been involved in planning various professional development workshops targeted towards improving one’s soft skills so that we can better equipped to pursue our post-graduate careers. Lastly, I also participate in the department’s various outreach events to engage the future generation of engineers, especially those from an underrepresented group. From my professional development training, I am hoping to be a stronger communicator to lead a research team and a mentor to inspire others.
Outside the lab, I enjoy keeping up with the latest trends in music, watching Disney movies, enjoying board games.