Emily received a Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from URI in 2006. After graduating, she joined the Mather lab as a Research Intern. Emily worked on a variety of projects for the Tick Vaccine Research Laboratory, including gene expression studies and proteomics.
In January 2008, Emily started a Master's degree in Entomology. Her research is examining the acquired tick resistance response that hosts develop in response to repeated tick infestations. By using a DNA microarray to simultaneously screen for several immune-related genes, she hopes to characterize the host's natural immune response to tick bites. During later studies, this information will facilitate the screening of potential vaccine candidates.
Matt graduated in 2005 with his Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Since then, he worked as a clinical research assistant for special projects at the Quality Assurance Review Center, a UMass Medical School affiliate, assisting with radiation oncology clinical trials, and at EpiVax, Inc. as an assistant project manager for grant and corporate funded projects. He joined the Mather lab in 2007 as a Master's candidate in Cell and Molecular Biology.
His graduate research focuses on a novel method to deliver double-stranded RNA to silence selected gene targets. By knocking down specific genes and then using these “knock down” ticks in host feeding trials, we hope to identify specific molecules that ticks use to avoid host immune responses and successfully transmit Lyme disease spirochetes. This approach is likely to identify anti-tick vaccine candidate targets.