MD/PhD Doctor of Medicine and of Philosophy candidate
Perspectives on the Future Applications and Challenges of mRNA Vaccines
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the implementation of mRNA vaccine technology, which has proven to be a global success in preventing hospitalizations and severe disease. However, many challenges remain including their efficacy in maintaining robust long-term immunity, mitigation and early detection of immunologic side effects, application in prevention of other diseases, and practical expansion to under-resourced regions. This project aims to review emerging ideas to improve the way vaccines are designed and administered. Students will learn how to conduct a targeted literature search, assess for quality of original research articles, synthesize information, and write a literature review.
Designing a Novel CAR T Cell Therapy
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells are immune cells genetically engineered to attack specific proteins implicated in cancer, autoimmune diseases, or viral infections. This project will challenge students to design a CAR T cell therapy for their disease of interest by 1) reviewing literature on antigen(s) specific to their chosen disease; 2) learning basics of T cell biology and genetic engineering; and 3) writing a research proposal (also known as a specific aims page) to assess the safety and efficacy of their designer T cell therapy.