We are pleased and proud to announce that two of our students won awards for their research at this year’s Developing Scientist Competition at IAFP in Indianapolis! There are two divisions, one for oral presentations and the other for poster presentations, and our students took home first place in each!
Clyde “Chip” Manuel, a PhD student in the Jaykus lab, won first place for his talk on how the human norovirus capsid and genome break down in the presence of different copper alloy surfaces, in comparison to stainless steel surfaces. This has been a big topic in the news because of how it could be applied to preventing the spread of disease in medical facilities, but until now such studies had not been done on the human norovirus.
Chip’s presentation title: Rapid Destruction of Human Norovirus Capsid and Genome Occurs during Exposure to Copper-containing Surfaces
Matthew Moore, also a PhD student in the Jaykus lab, co-won first place for his poster on using aptamers (engineered structures of nucleic acids that bind to target molecules) to evaluate the breakdown of the human norovirus after exposure to heat. This research is important because the inability to cultivate the virus has long hindered our ability to know when the virus particles are infectious or non-infectious, which is key to knowing the efficacy of treatments meant to inactivate the virus. Existing methods of evaluating norovirus inactivation are not without their limitations, and aptamers have the potential to be cost-effective and accessible alternatives.
Matt’s poster title: Use of a Nucleic Acid Aptamer-based Method to Study Thermal Inactivation of Human Norovirus
Three cheers for Matt and Chip! And all of our students did a fantastic job at IAFP!