HPV Polymerase project:

My main research project at Elmira is an attempt to design an inhibitor of the HPV (Herpes virus) polymerase. This inhibitor is a short peptide made of a type of unnatural amino acids called β-amino acids. Before we can make the peptide, we have to create the β-amino acids, and my students are currently working on these. Once we get them made, we'll put them together in a peptide and test it against the polymerase.

Comparison of (A) "normal" α-amino acid and (B) a β-amino acid, as well as the helices that each peptide forms.

San Salvador Island sunscreen project:

I am also working on a summer research project with Dr. Baker on San Salvador Island. We are sampling the water around this island in the Bahamas to determine the extent of sunscreen contamination. Sunscreen is damaging to ocean habitats such as coral reefs, and we are interested in how much and where on the island we find these molecules.