SOAR Student Profiles
- SOAR Position: Member; URC Communications and Social Media Ambassador and SOAR President (2023-24)
- Major: Biochemistry
- Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Kevin L. Bicker
Current Focus: Synthesis and Therapeutic Characterization of Cyclic Peptoids Against Cryptococcus neoformans and Candida albicans
Additional Interests: Neuroscience, Drug Research and Discovery, Alzheimer's Disease
Project DescriptionMy current research involves the potential optimization of linear peptoids via cyclization in order to better treat against two fungal pathogens, Cryptococcus neoformans and Candida albicans. This research project is interdisciplinary in nature, involving both organic synthetic methods/purification and biological characterization against fungal cells, HepG2 liver cells, and human erythrocytes (red blood cells). In the future, I plan on testing my cyclic peptoids across a broad range of pathogens (ESKAPE) and other human cell lines in addition to the PAMPA permeability assay which is designed to mimic the blood brain barrier.
Why does this topic interest you?This topic is interesting to me as it provides an application for techniques that I have learned in previous academic coursework, including organic chemistry and microbiology.
What are your professional aspirations?After obtaining my B.S. in Biochemistry, I plan on pursuing a PhD in Organic Chemistry or Pharmacology. After earning my PhD, I hope to have a career in drug research and discovery for degenerative neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
Do you have any advice for future researchers?Starting research can seem like a daunting task, but if you start searching early on, get to know your professors, work hard, and get back up when you get knocked down, you WILL succeed. Your first project DOES NOT have to be Nobel Prize-worthy. As you begin, you may feel overwhelmed and lost; but, if you persist and ask for guidance from those more experienced than you, you will gradually see self-growth and success, all the while becoming an expert in your field. When you fail (because research goes hand in hand with failure), ask for help, grind, and push through the challenges. The view from the top is worth the climb!