PhD, Infectious Diseases and Immunity, University of California Berkeley, 2018
MS, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, San José State University, 2012
BS, Microbiology, San José State University, 2010
I am a microbiologist and molecular biologist with a passion for clinical microbiology and diagnostics research and development. My main research interest is antimicrobial resistance in Gram-negative bacteria. Much of my work focuses specifically on β-lactam-resistant Gram-negative bacteria that produce β-lactamases—enzymes that inactivate and mediate resistance to β-lactam antibiotics.
Rapid diagnostic tests that detect antimicrobial-resistant bacteria to enable informed treatment decisions remain an important unmet medical need. I work on collaborative projects that target this issue through different approaches, with the goal of developing rapid diagnostic tests that will help guide treatment decisions for urinary tract infections and bloodstream infections caused by resistant bacteria. One approach is the development of a monoclonal antibody-based lateral flow assay that detects β-lactamases, in order to identify the presence of Gram-negative bacteria that are resistant to β-lactam antibiotics. A second approach utilizes a biochemical strategy based on enzymes, that specifically targets and amplifies β-lactamase activity directly from patient samples to detect, and guide treatment decisions for, β-lactam-resistant Gram-negative bacteria.
I also approach the problem of antimicrobial resistance in Gram-negative bacteria from a basic research standpoint, to try to understand more about mechanisms that increase their resistance to β-lactam and fluoroquinolone drugs. I am investigating the role of outer membrane porins in increased resistance to β-lactams in Klebsiella pneumoniae vs. Escherichia coli, as well as the role of outer membrane porins in the development of resistance to fluoroquinolones in E. coli.