Hi! I’m Ghazia Abbas and I’m currently a senior majoring in Biotechnology from Forman Christian College in Lahore Pakistan. I applied to VISRA because I wanted a chance to get unparalleled research experience in a tremendous university and I felt honored to be selected for this program.
I am working in Crowe lab which currently has active programs in biodefense research, vaccine and monoclonal antibody development, nanomedicine, and biotechnology. An area of emphasis in this lab is the study of structural determinants of virus neutralizing antibodies. The atmosphere is in this lab is supportive and constructive for research with a wide range of intellectual, award-winning international faculty, staff, fellows and students. My project revolved around the determination of the epitope and mechanism of action against a broadly neutralizing antibody against the Influenza haemagglutinin (HA) found on the exterior of the Influenza Virus. This glycoprotein is responsible for the binding of the virus to the host cells and the fusion of the viral endosome. I’m working on an antibody particular to one strain of the virus and the study of this antibody can eventually lead to the production of a rationally designed vaccine against the influenza virus.
My experience at Vanderbilt has been awe-inspiring and is one of the contributing factors for my future desire to pursue a PhD in Immunology and Pathology and my advice to all future undergrads considering to apply for VISRA: If you have a strong desire to pursue a future studies in the biomedical field, then APPLY! I can vouch for the fact that your experience at Vanderbilt will be beyond compare.