Biology Undergraduate Research Award

2021 Biology Undergraduate Research Award Recipient: Sophia Ren

Sophia Ren has been a member of Professor Tuli Mukhopadhyay’s lab for four years, where she studies the viral and host determinants necessary for alphavirus assembly and spread. This involves studying the biochemistry of the alphavirus structural proteins and their interactions with other viral proteins, the alphavirus genome, lipid membranes, and proteins found in different host cells. For the past three years, Sophia has been conducting research on the alphavirus spike proteins, which exist as trimers of heterodimers and are essential for host cell entry. Within trimers there are interdimer interactions, some of which may be essential for trimer assembly. Sophia was awarded the Biology Undergraduate Research Award for her manuscript on important alphavirus spike protein interdimeric interactions as well as their host-dependent assembly. She is planning to apply to medical schools next year and is excited to conduct more research in the future.