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B.S. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: The Ohio State University, 2012-2016
Magna Cum Lade
With Honors in Arts and Sciences
With Honors Research Distinction in Biochemistry
Post-Bac Laboratory Technician: Chemistry & Biochemistry 2016-Present
RNA Probing Optimization and Analysis
In addition to serving as a key player in translation of the genetic code, RNA is capable of having many regulatory and enzymatic functions as well. As with proteins, these functions are directly related to the 3D shape, or tertiary structure, of the RNA molecule. However, crucial to understanding the 3D structure and function of an RNA is knowledge of the base-pairing interactions, or secondary structure, of the molecule. In conjunction with informing the tertiary structure, the secondary structure can aid in the search for familiar RNA functional motifs and facilitate the design of RNA constructs that are likely to maintain their native fold. We seek to optimize various RNA probing methods including SHAPE, and RNase digestion for the study of retroviral RNAs, and to programmatically improve the analysis of RNA probing data.
Retroviral RNA Structure and Function
HIV-1 and HTLV-1 are deadly viruses and the only two retroviruses known to cause human disease. HIV-1, the cause of AIDS, is a global pandemic infecting 37 million people, while HTLV-1 infects from 5-20 million people and causes ATL, HAM/TSP, and other associated diseases in a fraction of the infected population. Our work focuses on the functionally-dense and highly-conserved 5′UTR of both of these viruses. Using structural and biochemical techniques including SAXS, and SHAPE we seek to explore how viral proteins such as reverse transcriptase, and host factors such as aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, interact with this region of the viral genome to enhance viral replication and pathogenesis.
CURRENT PUBLICATION LIST
1. *Cantara, W. A., *Hatterschide, J., Musier-Forsyth, K. (2017). RiboCAT: a new capillary electrophoresis data analysis tool for nucleic acid probing. RNA 23(2), 240-249.
POSTERS AND THESIS (Selected)
1. Retroviral-RNA Structure and Function: Investigating the role of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and retroviral-RNA structural elements in the initiation of reverse transcription, Undergraduate Research Thesis, 2016
2. Role of aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and viral RNA structure in the initiation of reverse transcription, Poster, Denman Undergraduate Research Forum, 2016
Awarded Second Place
3. Mapping interactions between the HIV-1 genome and human lysyl-tRNA synthetase, Poster, Denman Undergraduate Research Forum, 2015
Awarded Second Place