I have the expertise, leadership, training, and motivation necessary to successfully carry out the proposed research project. I have a broad background in biology, with specific training and expertise in public health microbiology, particularly pertaining to serological responses to infectious diseases, including emerging infectious diseases. My work includes clinical laboratory diagnostics research across a broad range of disciplines. My particular focus currently is development and evaluation of high-quality clinical laboratory diagnostic tests, particularly for emerging or under-studied pathogens. Presently, work in our laboratory is focused on evaluation and development of serological assays for detection of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2.
My early publications addressed the role of mobile genetic elements in human cancers. My work has led to several novel findings in the field, including the clonal variation of human mobile elements in different cancers, the contribution of mobile elements to DNA double strand break repair, description of the extensive variation in full-length/active mobile elements between individuals, and the role of several DNA repair pathways, including nucleotide excision repair and transcription-coupled repair, in limiting damage from mobile elements in vivo. Additionally, my work developed several novel tools that are now widely used in the field of mobile elements including a high-throughput sequencing approach for mobile element identification, and a droplet digital PCR approach for detection of rare mobile element insertions in tumors.
Additionally, I have made substantial contributions to the field of infectious diseases through work on the human parasite Plasmodium falciparum where my work focused on identifying potential druggable targets in the malaria parasite. Together with collaborators, I have described a receptor activated kinase required for intraerythrocytic proliferation, identified a novel parasite cyclin H homolog required for cytokinesis of blood-stage parasites, identified a essential contractile ring protein that controls cell division in P. falciparum, and developed a novel anti-parasitic compound that retains activity against artemisinin-resistant parasite strains.
My recent clinical laboratory work includes evaluation of molecular and serological assays for the detection of Zika virus and Zika virus antibodies, and more recently evaluation and development of molecular and serological assays for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 and SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Our early work has shown a significant link between the severity of patient symptoms and the subsequent immune response.