Originally from: Tennessee, USA
Previous institutions: University of Tennessee Knoxville
Research interests: Chemical Biology, Drug Delivery, Nanomedicine
“I really love solving biology problems with chemistry which is why I’m attracted to chemical biology. Specifically, discovering novel drug targets and developing novel drugs to treat cancer is really exciting to me. I think a massive limitation of our current drugs is how precisely they can be delivered which is why drug delivery is also exciting to me. Especially things like smart liposomes. They have the ability to reduce toxicity, increase safety and efficacy, and allow protein-based drugs to reach intracellular targets. It exciting to think of a world where powerful drugs have minimal side effects and can treat disease much more aggressively as a result.
I spent a lot of time in a lab where we used alphafold to predict G protein coupled receptor structures. Protein based drugs have so many advantages over small molecules and this insane leap in machine learning tools will surely revolutionize structure based small molecule design as well as design of protein therapeutics.
Finally, I do not know a ton about the immune system, but I’ve spent this spring/ summer taking notes on immunology lectures I found online and it’s very fascinating to me just how sophisticated and complex it is, especially with immunotherapies being all the rage in cancer treatments the last decade. I think nature has created some of the most eloquent solutions to its problems that there is no use reinventing the wheel. If something as complex and effective as the immune system exists, to me it makes more sense to prime/aid the immune system in attacking cancer. Help nature do the heavy lifting rather than doing it ourselves. This idea is really exciting to me, and I would love to work on projects that relate to the immune system but from a chemical biology / med Chem/ drug delivery perspective rather than being in a pure cell bio lab.”