Class of 2017
Education: BS in Microbiology at Cal Poly
Derek is interested in regenerative medicine and stem cell research because this field holds incredible promise for improving our understanding of many diseases by allowing us to closely follow the process of cell, tissue, and organism development and maturation. He wishes to focus his research effort towards modeling neuronal diseases at various stages along the development of the stem cells in an attempt to gain insight as to which genetic or cellular events may be contributing to the formation of disease. His plan is to immerse himself in the pursuit to understand how stem cell biology and genetic engineering can lead to medical breakthroughs that were previously impossible to achieve. Whether this pursuit will lead him to a PhD program or to an industry laboratory is still unknown; this is part of the excitement that feeds his motivation.
Derek is interning at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences in Dr. Inder Verma's Laboratory of Genetics.The project aims to correct liver cell production of clotting factor IX to provide a model for a cell transplantation therapy for patients suffering from hemophilia B. His role is to characterize the factor IX corrected liver cells that have been derived from human hemophilia B patient iPSCs, and assess the outcomes of in vivo transplantation of these cells into a mouse model of hemophilia B.