Thanks to the generosity of Dartmouth graduate alumni and the Arts and Sciences Graduate Alumni Association at Dartmouth (ASGAAD) Alumni Fund, the Graduate Studies office selects outstanding Arts and Sciences graduate students each year and awards them additional funds to facilitate their research. This year’s Alumni Award winners include Christopher Audu, an international student from Nigeria pursuing a joint MD/PhD in Chemistry.
Towards A Drug Candidate Against BK Virus Associated Nephropathy
How can we reduce the number of long-term kidney rejections, due to BK viral infections that occur after kidney-transplant surgery? The answer may lie in how the BK virus uses its coat protein, VP1, to adhere to kidney cells. We know that BK VP1 uses a glycoprotein as its receptor when binding to mammalian cells. We also know that the receptor can interact with a groove found between the BC and HI loops of VP1. Hence, my work has focused on developing a smaller protein construct containing the BC/HI loops from VP1. With this award I have been able to show, using techniques such as Fluorescence Assisted Cell Sorting (FACS) and in vitro fluorescent cell assays, that our protein construct is viable as a high throughput drug-screening tool against BK VP1.
by Christopher Audu