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Maria B

- Research Program Mentor

MD/PhD candidate at Tufts University

Expertise

Chemical Biology, Drug Development, Biological Experimental Assay Development

Bio

Hello! I'm Maria, and I am an effervescent person who loves working with students and solving problems. I am a chemist and biomedical engineer by training, and I am currently working on my PhD in Neuroscience at Tufts as an MD/PhD student! My past research includes synthesizing aromatic compounds for potentially applications in double-stranded DNA breaks as well as developing and optimizing biological assays to test these compounds at Harvard under Professor Christina Woo. I then worked under Professor Jon Ellman at Yale for one year learning Rhodium chemistry synthesis and collaborating on a multi-disciplinary drug design project. I have also worked on a project in neuroscience that focused on the disease development of Fragile X Syndrome using mouse models and electrophysiology. Current, I am working on developing Autophagy-Targeting Chimera and developing linkers that will recruit protein aggregates and disease-associated proteins to the autophagy process for degradation and elimination. In terms of clinical research, I am interested in surgery and emergency medicine. As for fun stuff, I am a USSF soccer referee and LOVE being on the field. I referee all levels from youth soccer to semi-pro games. In addition to soccer, I love to bake and sing (together and separately). Mentoring is extremely important to me as I would have not gotten where I am today without my mentors and people who gave me their knowledge and time. I look forward to working with you on developing a scientific approach and mindset to your ideas and endeavors!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Literature Review: 5-HT2 (Serotonin)-specific Small Molecules and Their Potential Applications

5-HT2 receptors (release serotonin) are important for regulation of sleep and play a role in the disease progression of depression. SSRIs target the serotonin transporter (SERT) and are often used for treatment of depression and some sleep conditions. However, specifically targeting serotonin receptor release could provide potential nuance and benefit in treatment of serotonin-related conditions. This review would entail reading about the function of 5-HT2 receptors and explore current research in selective small molecule development.

Coding skills

Matlab and some Python

Languages I know

Greek

Teaching experience

I have taught Chemistry Lab at Harvard as a teaching fellow. I also taught in the intro biology course at Harvard for three years and volunteered my time to be a course assistant in Modern Greek language courses. I have been teaching Sunday School for over 7 years, and I have been a leader of youth ministries in my church community.

Credentials

Work experience

Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (2016 - 2016)
Summer Scholar
Harvard University- Woo Lab in Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department (2016 - 2018)
Undergraduate Researcher
Yale University- Ellman Lab in Chemistry Department (2018 - 2019)
NIH Scholar

Education

Harvard University
BA Bachelor of Arts (2018)
Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering (Double)
Tufts University
MD/PhD Doctor of Medicine and of Philosophy candidate
Chemical Biology

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