Torbett Lab Hosts Graduate Student and Summer Interns (June 6, 2019)
The Torbett Laboratory is pleased to welcome graduate student and interns for summer 2019. The rotation allowed stduents to become immersed in the lab environment, gain exposure to techniques, research programs and culture of the lab. Meanwhile, the internship program is designed to provide closely supervised training with the purpose of providing an environment where interns can develop professional skills and gain research-related experience.
Shiyi Wang, Graduate Student of Scripps Research Graduate Program, has joined the Torbett laboratory for a lab rotation. The major part of the rotation includes the practice of techniques in handling RNA, specifically for the purpose of sequencing HIV RNA present in virions. The end result would be to follow anti-retroviral mutations in HIV, overtime, from HIV-infected patient sera isolates. Moreover, Shiyi will utilize her knowledge on basic bioinformatics in order to analyze and understand the sequencing results.
Shiyi earned her B.A. in Biotechnology in Zhejiang University in China in 2018. Before that, she studied the correlation between chitin synthase (CHS) genes and fungal adaption abilities to the environment back in 2015 (Liu R, et al. Sci Rep. 2017). Also, she joined Dr. Xu’s lab in University of Michigan as a visiting scholar, studying lysomal Two-Pore Channel 2 (TPC2)’s effects on lysosome membrane potential change, lysosome membrane trafficking, cellular cholesterol trafficking and amino acid efflux across lysosomal membrane.
Prior to joining the Torbett lab, she has finished three rotations covering studying the antibodies targeting on LASV membrane glycoprotein from the structural biological perspective, studying the molecular mechanism of cellular circadian rhythm, and using high throughput screening to discover small molecular regulars targeting on specific cellular pathways. She enjoys spending her free time on reading and writing novels.
Fatima Mohammed is part of the Scripps Research’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows (SURF) internship program. The ten-week SURF program aims to provide students an opportunity to experience cutting edge research in one of 220 laboratories at Scripps while being monitored by world-renowned faculty. Fatima decided to join the Torbett lab because of her interest in the HIV-related projects. The aim of her project is to assist in distinguishing host factors that interact with HIV proteins, such as the Gag precursor protein. The approach utilizes biotin tagging in order to identify virus-host interactions.
Fatima is a senior undergraduate student working towards a B.A. in Spanish and B.S. in Biology at Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina. After completing her degree, she plans to continue her education in the field of medicine. In her free time, Fatima enjoys traveling with friends and family as well as volunteering with organizations that aim to aid underprivileged school districts.
Joshua Pelleter is a high school student from the Bishop’s School, La Jolla, California. He began interning at the Torbett laboratory in June. He is interested in science and engineering and has experience with basic molecular techniques. He is also active in ecology-based service projects. After completing high school in 2020, Joshua intends to pursue and education in science. Joshua is an avid sailor, enjoys fishing, studying fish ecology and behavior and kayaking in his spare time.
John Majernik is currently a high-school student attending Bishop’s School, La Jolla, California taking part in an internship in the Torbett laboratory. He has relevant skills on biological lab techniques and also held various positions for the San Diego Yacht Club Junior Board, where he actively planned and organized outreach activities and community service projects. He is looking forward to his college experience after completing high school next year. John likes to spend his free time doing various outdoor activities such as sailing and playing water polo.
John and Joshua are closely supervised by Dr. Tony Pelletier, Professional Scientific Collaborator and former faculty at The Scripps Research Institute. Their current work focuses on improving lentiviral-based expression vectors.
Alexandra Joyce Stream
Alexandra Stream, a MD/PhD Graduate Student of University of California through the Medical Scientist Training Program, has joined the Torbett laboratory for an internship. As part of her internship, Alexandra will focus on gene delivery of an anti-HIV entry inhibitor, eCD4-Ig to hematopoietic stem and pregenitor cells.
Alexandra earned her B.S. in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining UCSD, she worked as an undergraduate research at UCLA, specifically the laboratories of Drs. Kent Hill (Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics) and Cho-Lea Tso (Department of Surgery) and the laboratory of Dr. Robert Yarchoan at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health through the Postbaccalaureate Cancer Resarch Training Award Program.
She enjoys spending her free time doing yoga, hiking and watching musical theater.
Saumya Jani has joined the Torbett lab as an intern. She is currently a MD/PhD Graduate Student through the Medical Scientist Training Program at University of California San Diego. Saumya’s internship will focus on the impact of opioids on T cells.
Before joining UCSD, Saumya served at various laboratories, inluding under the mentorship of Dr. Marcelo Tolmasky at CSUF, Dr. Robert Bonomo at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affiars Medical Center as a Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar , and Dr. Carolyn Carr of the Cardiac Metabolism Research Group at the University of Oxford as a Minority Health and Health Disparitites International Research Program trainee.
Saumya likes to spend her free time traveling, swimming, trying new foods and listening to true-crime podcasts.