Christine Markwalter was selected for a 2014 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship
Congratulations to Christine Markwalter, first year graduate student in the lab of Prof. David W. Wright for being selected for an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Her project is aimed at employing a novel class of synthetic aptamers as molecular recognition elements in robust, affordable diagnostic tests. Aptamers are short, single-stranded oligonucleotides capable of recognizing nearly any class of target molecule with high affinity and specificity. The thermal stability, reproducible synthetic methods, and experimental flexibility associated with aptamers make them desirable replacements for capture and detection antibodies in molecular recognition assays. Her work proposes a novel aptamer selection protocol designed to select two aptamers with distinct binding sites against a single target. Christine will develop a fluorescence-based sandwich assay on magnetic particles to detect human secretory immunoglobulin A (h-SIgA), a biomarker for fecal contamination of drinking water.