• Title Ph.D student- Harris Lab
  • Education BS Chemical Engineering at the University of South Florida
  • Area of Interest Prion Diseases/ Neurodegenerative Diseases

I was born and raised in the Philippines for half of my life until we moved to Doha, Qatar to pursue a better opportunity. After high school, I knew I was really interested in chemistry. Because of this, I started studying in a community college called College of the North Atlantic – Qatar as a Chemical Laboratory Technician. During this time, I learned a lot about unique ways of doing chemical analyses. After 2 years, I wanted to pursue an undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering in the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.

I came into University of South Florida thinking I wanted to do research or internships that can qualify me to go into big pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries in the country.

With a lot of perseverance, I have landed my first internship in Qatar Biomedical Research Institute as a Research and Development Intern in the Proteomics and Genomics Department. In this internship, I have learned the bread and butter of what it means to be in a biology lab in addition to learning multiple biochemical analysis for analyzing proteins. I learned a lot about mass producing proteins through recombinant protein expression of transcription factors for Type II Diabetes, protein purification using different purification systems, and structural analysis through X-ray crystallography. This internship is what sparked my interest in learning more about biology.

I have also interned for Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the Chemical Biology and Therapeutics Department working under Dr. Siu. There I learned optimizing purification processes and performing multiple crystallography and cellular assays to learn the structure of an enzyme involved in Lupus Erythematosus. Whenever I am not out of state doing internships, I worked in a Crystallography Lab in the University of South Florida with Dr. Chen where we investigated the molecular structure of proteins found in gram-negative bacteria bound to molecular inhibitors in order to design compounds efficiently.

For graduate school, I am interested in neurodegenerative diseases and hopefully applying what I learned in structural biology labs and chemical engineering into my work. My research in the Harris Lab focuses on understanding the molecular underpinnings of Prion Diseases, particularly the ability of the infectious form of the prion protein to induce a neurotoxic effect in neuronal cells.

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