Meet Farah Alayli!
Farah Alayli won first-place honors in the Life Sciences category at this year's Graduate Student Research Symposium for her poster presentation, Dengue Virus Non-Structural Protein 1 (NS1) Inhibits Pattern Recognition Receptor (PRR) Signaling. Currently, Alayli is a second-year doctoral student in Immunology.
Originally from Lebanon, Alayli had already earned her B.S. in Microbiology at NC State. She says that NC State has ". . .a great immunology program. . ." Besides, she liked the school as an undergraduate student. So, it was natural that she pursued her graduate degree at the place she liked best.
Now, as a graduate student, she is taking full advantage of NC State's diverse research environment. She enjoys the access that students have to seminars and research symposiums. And she thinks that those things are important in expanding students' research interests and creating a more interdisciplinary atmosphere.
Alayli's choice of immunology as a career goal was a natural fit. She says that she has always been interested in immunology, ". . . especially how pathogens interact with the human immune system." And the objective of her graduate research is the study of Dengue virus and how it affects the immune system.
Dengue virus expresses a protein (non-structural protein 1) that has been shown to interfere with the human immune system. Alayli's research involves finding out ". . . the role that the protein plays in suppressing the early immune response thus allowing the virus to replicate at higher levels enhance its spread in the population and cause severe Dengue Fever."
Alayli says that the Dengue virus infects 100 million people each year -- and there is no vaccine to prevent it. She hopes that her research of the non-structural protein 1 will help us understand how the virus invades the immune system. Ultimately, Alayli would like her research to influence a future vaccine design for the disease.
Her hopes for the impact of her research also contributed to her poster presentation at this year's Symposium. Alayli's advice to future symposium presenters is to be concise. And talk about ". . . the practical implications of your research."
And during her 'down time'? Alayli can usually be found spending time and relaxing with family and friends. She also enjoys biking -- with park trails being a favorite excursion.
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