User:Emily Jean Onufer

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Revision as of 16:01, 27 April 2008 by Emily Jean Onufer (talk | contribs) (Research Problem)
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Contact Info

Emily Jean Onufer (an artistic interpretation)
  • Emily Jean Onufer
  • MIT 20.109
  • MIT Address: 479 Commonwealth Ave. Boston, MA 02115
  • Home Address: 2756 Ocean Shore Ave. VA Beach, VA 23451
  • Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA

Feel free to email me: ejonufer [at] is my resume on my Athena public which gives an overview of my accomplishments as a whole. Basically, I enjoy playing tennis for MIT and being involved in various leadership positions around campus. I love traveling, being outdoors, and learning anything new. I am also adore solving puzzles.


  • 2006, Princess Anne High School International Bacc. Graduate
  • Present, MIT student, Sophomore

Research interests

  1. Immunology
  2. Infectious Diseases
  3. Cardiovascular Research

Module 3 Research Project

Research Problem

  • Topic

Did you know that in 2007 alone, 33.2 million people lived with AIDS? Of this number, 2.1 million died, including 330,000 children.

AIDS is now a pandemic, ravaging sub-Saharan Africa and retarding economic growth. Research has been done in a multitude of labs across the country concerning HIV, its deadly retrovirus.

Recent researchers have identified antibodies in the first loop (ECL1) of CCR5 of HIV exposed but uninfected individuals. This means that these antibodies could resist the HIV infection. It would be interesting to analyze and target the specific amino acid residues in this loop to determine which amino acids are involved in antibody binding to CCR5. Studies have been done that showed that amino acid substitutions in positions Alanine-95 and Alanine-96 increased antibody-peptide binding compared to that of the wild-type peptide Aspartate-95 and Phenylalanine-96.

  • Idea

Because of this research and that of others, we would like analyze the binding antibodies for key characteristics that would contribute to their binding affinity. We would then like to target these same residues of Aspartate-95 and Phenylalanine-96 to determine if other types of amino acids would increase the binding affinity. We would use site-directed mutagenesis to test to see how mutating these residues would affect antibody binding to CCR5. If we can determine the residues that bind antibodies most effectively, then we can more easily prevent an HIV-positive patient from becoming infected with AIDS.

  • Current Research in the Field and Sources of Information

Source: Pastori, et al. “Two amino acid substitutions within the first external loop of CCR5 induce human immunodeficiency virus-blocking antibodies in mice and chickens.” J Virol. 2008 Apr;82(8):4125-34. Epub 2008 Feb 6.


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