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Cristina Gutierrez-Vargas
Graduate Student

I received my B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biochemistry from the University of Texas at El Paso. During my undergraduate education, I worked in the parasitology laboratory of Dr. Rosa Maldonado, where my project entailed characterizing the Trypanosoma brucei and Leishmania major Methionine Aminopeptidase-1 (MetAP1) enzymes. My job was to express the MetAP1s in an E.coli bacterial system with genomic DNA as a starting point, and to follow-up with purification and enzymatic activity assays of the recombinant proteins. The ultimate goal of this project was to characterize and validate MetAP1 as a potential chemotherapeutic target against trypanosomatids. Apart from research at my undergraduate institution, I spent a summer as an intern at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR). At NIBR I joined the Protein Production and Analytics group under the guidance of Dr. Anne London to evaluate the effect on cell line choice and feed strategies on protein titer in various mammalian cell lines using analytical protein A chromatography. Methods involved were stable cell line scale up, protein purification, transient transfections, and analytical HPLC method development.

My current research interests are pretty broad and include biochemistry, molecular biology, and structural biology.  Overall, I am fascinated by the various biological structures that take action within a cell and I am interested in studying the role of these structures at the molecular level.  I hope to further develop and define my interests as classes and lab rotations get started.   

In my spare time, I enjoy being with family, traveling, art museums, learning languages, and music. I am excited in exploring NYC and look forward to a great experience at Columbia University.

Cristina Gutierrez-Vargas