Vesta Korniakova

 I am interested in exploiting structured nucleic acids as tools for gene regulation and biosensing in diverse organisms and environments. My research involves characterizing the structural dynamics of a riboswitch aptamer as well as fine-tuning its ligand binding affinity. I am also exploring riboswitch portability across different bacterial species to better understand the predictability of RNA structure and function. Additionally, I am using riboswitches as screening tools for discovering and studying potent bacterial promoters. In the future I hope to develop many more applications for riboswitches and aptamers in genetic circuits, therapeutics, and in biosensing technologies. Currently I am setting up my next research project in which I will be developing potential therapeutic and diagnostic aptamers for detecting and preventing Borrelia burgdorferi proliferation in humans as a means for managing Lyme disease. 

Discovering the diversity of the scientific research community outside of traditional academic labs, has given me new perspective on means of achieving progress in research and innovation. By leveraging skills and creativity through collaboration with scientists from a multitude of disciplines and backgrounds, including academia, industry and the citizen-science community, I believe the research experience can be heightened and a highly stimulating environment can flourish. 

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