BS – George Washington University, 2010
Ebola virus is the etiological agent of Ebola Hemorrhagic fever and is incredibly pathogenic, with mortality rates up to 90%. My thesis project focuses on determining the role of post-transcriptional RNA regulation during Ebola virus infection. As a single stranded RNA virus, Ebola possesses a high percentage of adenines and uracils (high AU content), therefore I am examining more specifically if the cis-acting RNA regulatory elements known as AU rich elements are important for viral replication and survival. I aim to identify host proteins that are able to recognize AU rich elements on viral mRNAs and influence their stability. Furthermore, I am investigating if the viral protein VP30 is able to recognize host AU rich elements and perhaps impact the stability of cellular mRNAs, influencing the host response to virus. In general, my research interests lie in host-pathogen interactions in the field of virology, particularly in the context of viral immune evasion. I find anti-viral innate immunity to be incredibly interesting and important in the field of biomedical research.