MDPI toxins Author
1910 W University Dr, Boise, ID 83725, USA.
Include but not limited to: Microbiology, Biochemistry, Immunology, Energy, Engineering, and Scientific Revolution.
- My curiosity for science began at a young age when my grandpa, a previous dean of the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, gave me a scientific microscope. While examining a water sample from a pond, I noticed repetitive colored filaments in the algae; this fascinated me and I wondered how these filaments might be significant.
- Since that time, I have always been interested in science, observations of the natural world, and puzzle-solving activity.
- When I joined Dr. Cornell’s laboratory I was assigned a project to analyze antibody responses in mice following intranasal vaccination with recombinant West Nile Virus (WNV) antigens. This was a great experience, and I was fortunate to be awarded a Department of Chemistry summer research fellowship so that I could work on the project full time during the summer of 2013.
- As part of the research project I have gained experience in a variety of molecular techniques and assays, including: protein assays, western blot analysis, gel electrophoresis, spectrophotometry, and affinity chromatography for purification of recombinant proteins.
- I also learned sterile technique and how to culture bacterial and mammalian cells. One of the capstones of my project was to chemically modify the WNV antigen with a fluorochrome label and study the binding of the protein to mammalian cells using fluorescence microscopy.
- I have had several opportunities to present the results of my research at BSU. Spring of 2013 I went back to my high school and gave a presentation to the science club about my work developing a vaccine for WNV.
- This experience was really enjoyable, and made me more confident when I presented my work locally at the BSU Undergraduate Research Conference and Summer Research Conference. At the end of the summer fellowship I also presented a poster “Antibody Responses in Mice Following Intranasal Vaccination with Recombinant WNV Antigens” at the statewide IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) conference in Moscow, Idaho. Before graduation I gave a departmental presentation on my research as part of my senior thesis.
- As a whole, the work has gone well, and I have been recognized with a co-authorship on a manuscript that has been published to Toxins and on manuscripts submitted to Clinical and Vaccine Immunology. I am hoping to wrap up my research with Dr. Cornell by getting previous work included in another manuscript on the study of the binding of the fluorescent WNV antigens to cell surfaces. We want to understand cell surface receptors involved in the receptor-mediated endocytosis of the WNV adjuvant.
- My undergraduate research is unique because I have been given the opportunity to be responsible for running my own experiments as well as providing teaching and leadership to colleagues; these opportunities have increased my motivation to become more engaged in coursework and develop new interests in science. For example in polymer chemistry, a graduate level course, I could relate principles of synthesis and molecular interactions with potential applications in research while maintaining a position on the Dean’s list with Honors.
- Time spent in research led to an appreciation for the ongoing molecular processes in cells and in infectious diseases. Pursuing a Ph.D. degree would provide a broad basis of training. Shall a program provide me with the opportunity to participate in the Ph.D program, I would be most interested in Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology. This research area is of great interest due to its association with molecular interactions, protein design in therapeutics and pathogenesis, which are important aspects of molecular immunology. I look forward to the opportunity to meet with fellow investigators.