2018 - Present
University of California, San Francisco
I began my postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Charles Chiu in the Department of Laboratory Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, in September 2018. My current projects focus on the discovery and diagnosis of novel and emerging tick-borne pathogens, investigation of the ecology of tick-borne pathogens in California, and identification of transcriptional signals related to dengue virus pathogenesis.
2013 - 2018
University of California, Berkeley
For my doctoral research, I studied the role of non-structural protein 1 (NS1), the only protein secreted from flavivirus-infected cells, in the pathogenesis of severe dengue disease. NS1 from all four DENV serotypes is capable of inducing endothelial hyperpermeability and vascular leak, and my work has focused on elucidating the mechanisms that drive NS1-mediated pathogenesis both in vitro and in vivo. Dr. Henry Puerta-Guardo and I together discovered that NS1 induces upregulation of sialidase, cathepsin L, and heparanase expression in human pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells, leading to degradation of the endothelial glycocalyx, and inhibitors of these enzymes prevent NS1-induced hyperpermeability in these cells. Recently, I discovered that neither TLR4 nor TNF-α are involved in NS1-mediated barrier dysfunction in an in vivo model of vascular leak, but inhibition of sialidases, cathepsin L, and heparanase was sufficient to protect animals from NS1-induced leak. Currently unpublished work aimed to further investigate the early mechanisms driving NS1-induced glycocalyx degradation.
2011 - 2013
U.S. Food & Drug Administration
As an ORISE fellow at the U.S. Food & Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation & Research, I worked in the Laboratory of Retrovirus Research in the Office of Vaccine Research & Review's Division of Viral Products. My work involved safety of novel cell lines with application in vaccine manufacturing, particularly for seasonal influenza. The lab focused on testing for the presence of adventitious agents that may emerge during vaccine production. Particularly, we assayed for retroviruses and other infectious particles that may be induced during manufacturing. I primarily conducted single-tube fluorescent product-enhanced reverse transcriptase assays (STF-PERT) for the identification of reverse transcriptase enzymes in cell lines and reagents used in vaccine manufacturing following induction with chemical stimuli.
2008 - 2010
The College of William & Mary
I worked in the lab of Dr. Kurt Williamson at the College of William & Mary for two years, researching viral and bacterial communities in Lake Matoaka, a freshwater lake on campus. Our work focused on the temporal and spatial dynamics of these communities and the interplay between them and the environment. This work informed and inspired my interest in disease ecology, specifically how non-microbial factors can influence the composition of a microbial population in the environment. In addition to our study of microbial ecology, I contributed to a broader project on viral community profiling methods through my honors thesis. My work challenged the accepted efficacy of pulsed field gel electrophoresis for use in profiling freshwater viral communities and demonstrated the limitations of the technology.