…she is currently working on an honors thesis project developing a cell line containing viral genes that has long term potential for gene therapy.
Howard Hughes Fellowship Recipient
A graduate of James S. Rickards High School in Tallahassee, Pankaj is a senior majoring in Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Biomedical Mathematics. Under the supervision of Professor Michael Chapman, she is currently working on an honors thesis project developing a cell line containing viral genes that has long term potential for gene therapy. As evidenced by recent clinical trials, viruses are ideal vectors for gene therapy. Of these, adenoassociated virus (AAV) is very promising due to its nonpathogenicity and range (it can target both dividing and non-dividing cells). AAV, however, requires adeno virus helper functions in order to replicate, which necessitates co-infection/transfection. Establishment of a stable cell line containing these adeno helper genes is currently underway.
In addition to receiving a Howard Hughes Fellowship in Mathematical and Computational Biology, a Charles A. Brautlecht Chemistry Scholarship, and a Bess Ward Honors Thesis Grant, Pankaj is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Eta Sigma. She is also involved with International Medical Outreach whose mission is to unite the efforts of a small group of pre-medical students and medical staff in an international service learning experience that provides first hand medical care in countries less advanced.
In her spare time, Pankaj plays intramural soccer and participates in FSU's chapter of Cuong Nhu Martial Arts club.