Reflection Blog 2: What is it that I even want to study

Hey y’all I am back again and this time with a bigger purpose. As I stated in my opening remarks about this blog site, I am curious and passionate about autoimmune diseases and understanding not only the genetic complexities of these diseases but why they are becoming more and more prevalent in society. Autoimmune disorders and immunology are some of the main reasons I want to pursue biochemistry and pharmacy work, in that I am interested to review the pharmacokinetics of drugs in patients with autoimmune diseases. With that being said I have three project ideas in mind that will expand my interests but also will educate and inform people about the unique intricacies and unanswered questions these diseases present in patients. My three project interests are as follows:

1.     I am interested in studying the EBNA1 protein that is only present in Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and all Epstein-Barr Virus related malignancies such as EBV induced lupus. EBNA1 can be described as a multifunctional dimeric viral protein that has unique characteristics that make EBV so potent in patients and also has interesting expression in the “Qp promoter region during all latency programs.” This means that the protein is present in all latent cases of EBV and it is the only viral protein expressed in latency programs. While there is a lot of research on EBNA1, there are still a lot of unanswered questions as to why this protein makes EBV so infectious. I want to investigate the proteins genetics and potential infectious mechanisms to understand why it can make EBV such a harmful virus.

2.     There is a lot of research on Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and it is heavily established in the scientific community that it is a metabolic disease. However, there is one unique type of (MS) called Marburg type, or Acute Multiple Sclerosis, that is really not understood as a metabolic disease like the most common form (Relapse-Remitting MS). With Marburg Type MS, it is completely different from RRMS in that symptoms do not relapse and usually causes death within one year of diagnosis. I would be curious to look into the metabolic pathways and biochemical pathways that make Marburg type so deadly compared to RRMS where it has periods of remission and flare-ups.

3.     A final autoimmune disorder I would love to investigate is that of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in developed countries compared to the rest of the world where the common cause is inadequate dietary intake of iodine. It would be interesting to investigate whether or not there is a link to increased iodine intake in developed countries and the development of Hashimoto’s disorder. I would also like to investigate potential genetic components that make Hashimoto’s so prevalent in developed countries compared to that of non-developed countries.

Each project to me is not only intriguing but also unique like myself. Hopefully with the narrowing down of topics I can develop a deeper respect and understanding for rheumatic illnesses.

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