Laboratory Assistant, UCSD

Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutica Sciences

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My interest in parasitic diseases began as an undergraduate at UC San Diego by coursework in medical microbiology and HIV. Helminthic diseases and HIV particularly caught my interest because they are complex and evasive parasites biologically, and they are responsible for a staggering share of global morbidity and mortality, especially in locations Americans may never encounter or think of.

Currently, I am working on the scale up and purification of native Schistosomiasis mansoni Cercarial Elastase (CE). CE is a serine protease used by S. mansoni to penetrate human skin and establish infection, and no crystal structure is available to date. Although computer models have been generated using the 6 most-closely related proteases, a 3D crystal structure may pave the way for the development of topically applied drugs or other chemical barriers to prevent Schistosomiasis infection for travelers to endemic regions or for locals who must enter infectious water in everyday life.

Previously I accrued research experience in total organic synthesis under the mentorship of Dr. Emmanuel Theodorakis and in drug formulation as an employee of Catalent/Pharmatek Inc. In the future, I hope to treat some of the NTD’s we study here at CDIPD as a physician.