- Postdoctoral Research, University of Washington's Institute for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine
- Ph.D., Molecular Biology, University of Colorado
- B.S., Biology, Colorado Mesa University
- Assistant Professor, Biology
- Black Hills State University
The detection and isolation of biologically important molecules found in the environment including biotoxins, pollutants, and natural plant compounds, is necessary for the maintenance of healthy ecosystems and determining the impact of these substances on human and animal health. Current detection methods are often complicated, costly, and target-specific. The goal of our research is to develop simple-to-use detection strategies based on nucleic acid-based aptamers (DNA and RNA molecules). The versatility of these molecules in their ability to detect small molecules, proteins, cells, and other targets as well as their enhanced thermal stability and ease of replication make them attractive options for the design of a variety of detection or isolation applications. Discovery of functional aptamers that target biologically important molecules will be conducted utilizing SELEX (systemic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment) methodology. Aptamers will be experimentally validated and adapted to assays designed to detect or isolate targets of interest chosen by individual student researchers. The goal of this project is to create a library of aptamer molecules that can be utilized for the detection, isolation, and monitoring of biologically important molecules and the study of these molecules in human, animal, environmental systems.