Staff

Cara Pager, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

BS, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

MS, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

PhD, University of Kentucky

Postdoctoral Training, Stanford University

 

Jason Biegel, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Fellow

BS, Binghamton University

Ph.D., University at Albany-SUNY

Eric Henderson

Graduate student

BS, University at Albany-SUNY

Gaston Bonenfant

Graduate student

Marissa Louis

Graduate student

Rachel Cary

Graduate student

BS, SUNY Oswego

Samantha Kahn

Research Assistant

BS, University at Albany-SUNY

Deniece Brown

Undergraduate student

University at Albany-SUNY

Jonah Pager

Microtechnician

Lab Alumni

Alex Schin, Undergraduate student

Lindsey Oltz, Undergraduate student

Hannah Mathew, Undergraduate student

Lola Olatunbosun, Summer Research Student

Jason Biegel – Postdoc

 

M.S. (2006) and Ph.D. (2013) in Biology at SUNY Albany, Evolution and Expression of the Lysozyme and β-1,4-Galactosyltransferase Families in Mammals: Possible Roles in Fertilization.

 

B.A. and B.S. (2004) in History and Biology at SUNY Binghamton.

 

My project is to better understand host/viral interaction during HCV infection. This is following up on Dr. Pager’s earlier finding that knocking down RCK/p54 (DDX6) is important to HCV translation and replication.  I am creating a number of RCK/p54 functional mutants in order to determine whether the enzyme’s helicase, ATPase, or RNA-binding functions are important during HCV infection.  Additionally, I am creating a number of interaction mutations with components of the deadenylase and decapping complexes.

Eric Henderson – Graduate Student (Advanced to Candidacy)

 

B.S. in Biological Sciences (2010) from University at Albany, State University of New York

 

I am studying protein/RNA interactions between the host RNA helicase RCK/p54 and host and viral RNAs during HCV infection.  Using RNA affinity chromatography and photoactivatable Ribonucleoside enhanced cross-linking and immunoprecipitation (PAR-CLIP), I will determine sites of interaction between RCK/p54 and viral RNA and examine global changes in RCK/p54 target recognition in response to infection.

 

 

Gaston Bonenfant – Graduate Student

 

B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology (2014) from Westomont College, CA.

 

Based off Dr. Pager’s previous research characterizing RCK/p54’s influence on HCV infection, I am working on applying that research towards other members of the Flavivirus genus. I have begun work on Dengue Virus and have determined that, similar to HCV, Dengue RNA and protein levels significantly drop off when RCK is depleted from infected cells. Future work looks to identify which stage in the viral life cycle RCK is acting, and further characterize the function of RCK during infection.

 

 

Marissa Louis – Graduate Student

 

B.A. in Biological Sciences (2013) from Hunter College, The City University of New York

 

My project is focused on understanding how the biochemical interaction between RCK/p54 (DDX6) and the 3’UTR of Dengue viral RNA affects the structure of the DENV genome. Additionally, I would like to look at the role RCK/p54 (DDX6) binding to the 3’ UTR plays in infectivity, translation and replication. In my free time, I am an avid coffee drinker and a fan of both good TV and bad reality shows.

 

 

Rachel Cary – Graduate Student

 

B.S. in Biological Science (2014) at SUNY Oswego

 

My research is focused on studying the RNA modifications that take place on the Dengue Virus genome during the infectious life cycle. I am investigating the modifications that take place during evasion of the cellular immune system, the steps in the viral life cycle, subcellular localization of the virus, and in maintaining the stability during viral transmission between mosquitoes and humans.

 

 

Samantha Kahn – Postbac Student

 

B.S. (2015) in Biology at SUNY Albany.

 

My project is following up on Dr. Pager’s earlier finding that knocking down RCK/p54 (DDX6) is important to HCV translation and replication.  I am creating a number of RCK/p54 mutants in order to determine whether the proteins ability to transport inside or outside the nuclease is important during HCV infection by creating mutations within the nuclear export signal.

 

 

Deneice Brown – Undergraduate Student

 

B.S. (expected 2017) in Biology at SUNY Albany.

 

My project is following up on Dr. Pager’s earlier finding that knocking down RCK/p54 (DDX6) is important to HCV translation and replication.  I am creating a number of RCK/p54 truncations with the prion-like domain (PRD) in order to determine their importance during HCV infection.