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I am a non-tenure track Instructor in the Department of Microbiology at UMass Chan Medical School.  My long-term goal is to understand the molecular mechanisms of viral entry and antibody neutralization, to inform the development of novel vaccines and therapeutics.  My research focus is on RNA viruses which are a major threat to human health, including HIV-1, Ebola virus, Influenza virus and arboviruses like the Dengue, West Nile and Zika flaviviruses. 

I am a virologist by training with additional expertise in immunology and biophysics.  During my PhD and initial post-doctoral training (with Dr. Benjamin Chen and Dr. Talia Swartz, respectively), I developed functional virology and immunology assays with pseudovirus and fully infectious HIV-1 in mammalian cell lines, primary human cells and human tonsil explants.  During my postdoctoral training in the Munro lab at Tufts University, I developed biophysical approaches such as single-molecule Förster resonance energy transfer (smFRET) imaging to define novel conformational dynamics of Ebola virus envelope glycoprotein on pseudovirions under viral entry-relevant conditions.  Following the completion of my post-doctoral training, I characterized rare patient-derived broadly neutralizing antibodies against Dengue Virus as a Scientist at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.  At UMass Chan, I continue to refine my unique experimental skill set to probe viral protein conformations where traditional approaches have been challenging.  Collectively, I have defined the single-molecule dynamics of the Ebola virus (Class I) glycoprotein on retroviral pseudoparticles, generated flavivirus (Class II) pseudoparticles and performed in vitro neutralization, infectivity and other functional assays with viruses of both classes.  My skills and experience are ideally suited to the development and application of (i) advanced biophysical approaches to probe the mechanisms of viral entry, (ii) virus-based tools compatible with novel detection platforms, (iii) functional cell-based viral entry assays to validate cell-free observations and (iv) novel anti-viral therapeutics and vaccine antigens.  The Class II viral fusogens of arboviruses and other RNA viruses with pandemic potential are a major focus of my future independent research goals.

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  • Antibodies Neutralizing