"I applied to the Scholars program in order to get a feel for actual hands-on research. I have taken numerous chemistry classes, along with structured labs, but was more curious to apply what I have learned to real life situations. This year I hope to not only be able to complete lab tasks, but to also fully understand everything I work with and how it will help society in the future."
I am interested in mostly chemistry related research and have been placed in a lab that works with proteins and viruses. This gives a nice mix on how chemistry is used to research biological concepts.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- FSU University Freshmen Scholarship (2008-2010)
- Florida Bright Futures (2008-Present)
- Intramural Tennis League Champion (2008)
Research at the McKnight Brain Institute previous to USP (Spring 2011) Pi Beta Phi Foundation (Fundraising for First Book)
Hobbies and Interests
- Tennis, running, reading, and traveling.
The Design of Selective Human Carbonic Anhydrase Inhibitors
Carbonic anhydrases (CA) are a family of metalloenzymes found in all organisms, catalyzing CO2 hydration to bicarbonate and a proton. It has now been well documented that tumor hypoxia is associated with poor prognosis and increased tumor aggressiveness, and carbonic anhydrase IX, an endogenous marker for tumor hypoxia, contributes to the pH regulation of tumor cells. In contrast to the other CA isozymes, CA IX has been implicated to play a role in regulation of cell proliferation, adhesion, and malignant cell invasion. Interestingly, CA IX is over expressed in human epithelial tumors derived from tissues that normally do not express this isozyme, including carcinomas of cervix, lung, kidney, prostate, and breast. There is also evidence that CA IX allows tumors to acclimate to a hypoxic microenvironment, promoting tumor cell proliferation, and that CA IX expression is related to poor disease-free survival in patients. The overall goal of my research proposal is to develop new approaches and drugs targeted to CA IX, the activity of which may be a key for resistance to antineoplastic therapy in the tumor microenvironment. I hypothesize that the inhibition characteristics for CA IX will vary from other CA isozymes because of specific differences in amino acids projecting into the active site will have a direct effect on the specificity of inhibitor binding. Molecular docking computations based on known structural differences in the active sites of CA isozymes will be used to identify sulfonamide based inhibitors that selectively inhibit CA IX. These inhibitors will then be tested enzymatically for inhibition properties against CA II and CA IX.The inhibition constants will be determined using stopped-flow and 18O exchange mass spectroscopy and the most potent inhibitors that also demonstrate preferential inhibition of CA IX will be tested for their ability to diminish extracellular acidification of the cellular environment.