Research

I am a molecular biologist seeking to incorporate computational biology into the study of host-pathogen interactions for the development of novel drug therapies. In my research, I aim to understand the complex biological relationships between Brugia malayi, a nematode that parasitizes humans, and its essential endosymbiotic bacteria, Wolbachia. Considering the parasitic relationships Wolbachia have with many arthropods, I am intrigued by the fact that the bacteria have evolved mutualistic relationships with certain nematodes, and are, in fact, essential for nematode growth, survival, and fecundity. Understanding the intricacies of these interactions between species, from parasitic to mutualistic and the continuum therein, gives me an appreciation of the vital role that symbiotic relationships play in the maintenance of ecosystems, human health, and the evolution of life on earth. In addition to this appreciation, I am driven by the need for research and drug development to combat Neglected Tropical Diseases, diseases that generally affect the world’s poor and which receive a dearth of funding and attention.