Zoe Anne Gotthold
Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Toxoplasma Protein Analysis
- Computational Biology
Toxoplasma gondii is a relatively common parasite that can cause both acute and chronic infections (toxoplasmosis), particularly in immunocompromised individuals. The pathways that lead to chronic toxoplasmosis are not completely characterized, but appear to involve genes both transcriptionally and translationally regulated. We are studying the importance of various genes that are specifically regulated by translation. We are also using machine learning to create predictive models of translational efficiency based on the various characteristics of Toxoplasma genes. This will allow us to better understand the genetic regulation involved in protein translation in Toxoplasma, which could have implications for creating anti-parasitic drugs and understanding parasite biology as a whole.
I took SuperUROP because I am looking to develop my computational skills. As someone who plans to study infectious diseases, I believe that it is important to learn how we can use computational power to enhance research. We are in an evolutionary arms race with pathogens, and one tool we have that they do not is the ability to code: we should use it!