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Postdoctoral Associates

Ana Rita Batista

Position: Postdoc since August 2014 

Education: 2013 - PhD in Biomedical Sciences, University of Porto, Portugal; “New somatic transgenic mouse models in transthyretin amyloidosis: from pathogenesis to gene therapies”, under supervision of Professor Maria Joao Saraiva

2005 - Degree in Biochemistry, Applied Biochemistry core, University of Porto, Portugal

Project: My main focus is on testing new therapies for Huntington’s Disease. In a close collaboration with Neil Aronin’s lab (in the RTI), we are testing newly designed vectors carrying artificial miRNAs or zinc-finger proteins targeting mutant huntingtin. These vectors are delivered to different animal models (mice, sheep, non-human primates) either in a systemic or localized manner using new AAV capsids developed in our lab.

Contact: Rita.Batista@umassmed.edu

  

Jennifer Gifford

Position: Postdoc since September 2015

Education: 2015PhD in Biochemistry, University of Colorado; “Interactions of Nanomaterials with Biological Systems: A Study of Bio-Mineralized Nanoparticles and Nanoparticle Antibiotics”

2009BS in Chemistry, Minor in Data & Modeling, Trinity College, Hartford, CT

Project: My goal is to discover new AAV capsids with desirable characteristics, such as specific tissue tropism, higher transduction and gene expression in select cell populations, and evasion of both pre-existing neutralizing antibodies and developed immunity. Our main target is gene transfer to the central nervous system (CNS) after systemic delivery. We employ several library-based strategies to select for and identify novel capsids, including DNA shuffling, random mutagenesis and insertions to the capsid surface.

Contact: Jennifer.Gifford@umassmed.edu

 

Ana Neto

Position: Postdoc since March 2017

Education: 2017 - Postdoctoral Fellow in Molecular Medicine and Department of Molecular, Cellular and Cancer Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School; "Dissecting the mechanism of oncogenic glutamate receptor signaling in melanocytes and melanoma", under supervision of Dr. Craig Ceol

2011 - PhD in Molecular Biology, Universidad Pable de Olavide, Spain and University of Porto, Portugal; "Functional analysis of odd-skipped related genes: insights from renal and fin development", under the supervision of Dr. Jose Luis Gomez-Skarmeta

2004 - BS in Biology, University of Coimbra, Portugal

Project: Characterizing the transduction profile of new AAV capsids identified in the muscle through in vivo library screening. The main goal is to select capsids that show a better transduction profile in the muscle and can be used in the treatment of the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

Contact: Ana.Neto@umassmed.edu