"I applied to the Scholars program to further my research efforts and contribute to the efforts of my PI in developing treatments for kids with Sanfilippo Syndrome Type B. Research can be a trying process but the intellectual challenge it provides as well as being able to witness the application of science improving the human condition makes it an exciting opportunity. I hope to be successful in my project of adding the tag and obtain useful results to present at the symposium in the Spring."
My research interests involve developing stem cell and gene therapy treatments for the lysosomal storage disease, Sanfilippo Syndrome Type B. I hope my polyhistidine project will positively contribute to the encompassing goal of Dr. Heldermon's lab.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- UF Anderson Scholar with Highest Distinction (2010)
- President's Honor Roll (2009, 2011)
- Dean's List 92008)
- Wendy Heisman Scholarship (2008)
- Gator Club Scholarship (2008)
- Tennis Athletic Scholar Award
- Okaloosa County Tennis Championship<;li>
- Emerald Coast TennisTournament
- UF Tennis on Wheels
- UF Chemistry Outreach
- UF Outdoor Adventure Recreation Club
- Intramural Tennis and Soccer
- UF Campus Kitchens
- UF Global Medical Training Program
Teaching tennis to the special-needs students at Sidney Lanier with the Tennis on Wheels Program, demonstrating science labs to third graders at Gainesville elementary schools through the Chem Outreach program, preparing food for the underserved communities of Gainesville with Campus Kitchens, and going abroad to help the medically-underserved.
Hobbies and Interests
- Reading anything by Etgar Keret, loud music, traveling, hiking, camping, and bonfiring.
Addition of a Polyhistidine Tag to Identify NAGLU Protein Product in the Development of Treatments for Sanfilippo Syndrome Type B Lysosomal Storage Disease
Sanfilippo Syndrome Type B is one of many debilitating lysosomal storage diseases that plague human genetics. This particular disorder results from a deficiency in the enzyme alpha-N-acetylglucosaminidase (NAGLU), which is required for the lysosomal breakdown of heparan sulfate. The goal of my PI’s lab is to develop therapeutic treatments of this disease using gene therapy and stem cell therapy. As an undergraduate student working in his lab, I will work towards addition of a polyhistidine tag to NAGLU in both lentiviral and adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors. This will allow identification of the location of the NAGLU protein product in mice and help develop treatments for Sanfilippo Syndrome Type B. Plasmids for AAV and lentiviral production of NAGLU will be modified. The plasmid will then be integrated into the vector to produce useful protein product in infected cells in mice. Antibodies that bind to the protein at specific locations are usually used to identify the correct protein product for the lab. However, the antibodies for NAGLU are poor and produce weak signals. Antibodies to histidine tags are significantly more effective and have less interference. Inserting a polyhistidine tag will allow easy identification of the NAGLU protein product. The his-tag will have at least five histidine residues and will be integrated into the viral sequence using PCR with primers coding the tag and matching with a specific location on the plasmid. Thus, the protein produced will have a his-tag that can be easily recognized by antibodies and allow proper identification that will further studies of developing treatments for Sanfilippo Syndrome Type B.