BMB Graduate Students
Born and raised in Richland, Washington—home of the Hanford Nuclear Site—Jessica was surrounded by science at a young age. Despite a blossoming career in hazardous and radioactive waste clean up, she decided to pursue a degree in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology at Washington State University in Pullman, WA. While at WSU, Jessica worked as a research assistant in Dr. Tom Okita's laboratory, studying the mechanism of RNA localization in rice.
Upon completion of her degree, she took a position in Dr. Richard Smith's Biological Separations and Mass Spectrometry group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Here, Jessica was part of a multi-institutional team lead by Dr. Joshua Adkins that utilizes systems biology approaches (proteomics, transcriptomics) to comprehensively characterize Salmonella typhimurium and identify potential therapeutic targets. Her research focused on the differential profile of outer membrane proteins of S. typhimurium through accurate mass and time tag (AMT tag) proteomics approaches to gain insight into virulence mechanisms and host-pathogen interactions. She was also part of a team that used mass-spectrometry approaches to annotate post-translational modifications of the S. typhimurium genome.
Jessica joined the Dr. Buddy Ullman's laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2010. Under the mentorship of Dr. Nicola Carter, Jessica's Ph.D. thesis work is focused on delineating the adaptive response of a protozoan parasite and purine auxotroph, Leishmania donovani, to the naturally-encountered purine limitation stress. Through a combination of global studies (proteomics, RNA-seq, and metabolomics) as well as targeted biochemical, genetic, and molecular biology techniques, her work aims to understand how this parasite thrives in an ever-changing environment. She is interested in how Leishmania sense nutrient changes in the microenvironment, regulate mRNA abundance, translation, and ultimately protein abundance--all mechanisms that allow successful adaptation to environmental insults. The overarching goal, of course, is identification of targets to exploit via therapeutic intervention.
Jessica plans to continue her career in science not only through post-doctoral research, but also participation in global outreach and education programs regarding neglected tropical diseases. She is also interested in advising scientific policy as well as enhancing scientific communication.
While a native Oregonian, Danielle spent many of her formative years abroad, and graduated from the International School of Bangkok, in Bangkok, Thailand. She chose to return to the Pacific Northwest to attend Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington for her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology. Danielle was involved in several research projects during her time at Whitman, from fish genetics to parasite biochemistry, but it was her work in Buddy Ullman's lab at OHSU on enzymes in the Leishmanial purine salvage pathway that drew her into the world of research. Danielle completed her undergraduate thesis on a novel nucleoside hydrolase in Leishmania, and after after graduating, moved to Portland to take a position as a research assistant in the lab of Gary Thomas at the Vollum Institute. In the Thomas lab her research focused on the role of the PACS proteins in driving apoptosis and cancer.
Danielle began the OHSU MD-PhD program in 2009, and after completing the first two years of medical school, joined Ujwal Shinde's lab in the department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Her PhD thesis work is primarily focused on the role of the unique propeptides in regulating the folding and activation of the proprotein convertase family of serine proteases. After completing her PhD thesis, she will complete her MD and plans to enter a residency in Internal Medicine.
Williamson DM, Elferich J, Ramakrishnan P, Thomas G, Shinde U. "The mechanism by which a propeptide-encoded pH sensor regulates spatiotemporal activation of furin."J Biol Chem. 2013 Jun 28;288(26):19154-65. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.442681. Epub 2013 May 7. PMC3696687Elferich J, Williamson DM, Krishnamoorthy B, Shinde U. "Propeptides of eukaryotic proteases encode histidines to exploit organelle pH for regulation."FASEB J. 2013 Aug;27(8):2939-45. doi: 10.1096/fj.12-226886. Epub 2013 Apr 12. PMC3714588