User:Zach Bjornson

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Zach Bjørnson (©2006 Bart Nagel)

MIT Biology 2010 - S.B. | Stanford Microbiology and Immunology - graduate student (Ph.D. -- Nolan Lab)

My primary focus is in Category A/BL4 pathogens (especially ebolavirus), and on the other end of the spectrum, I'm fascinated by rhinoviruses (major cause of the common cold). In both cases, I enjoy studying emerging pathogens and characterizing their differences from already-characterized bugs. I also enjoy studying the differences in immune responses between individuals with differing symptoms/outcomes after infection with the same virus.

I have a side interest and some experience in mechanical and electrical engineering.

You can contact me at bjornson{at}stanford{.}edu or bjornson{at}broadinstitute{.}org.

Current Research and Biology Projects

  • Long-term sequelae of ebolavirus infection in humans. (Nolan lab, with Hensley/Honko)
  • Immune profiling during fatal and nonfatal ebolavirus infection. (Nolan lab, with Hensley/Honko)
  • Identifying causal agents of fevers of unknown origin via Illumina sequencing. (Rubins lab and Sabeti lab)

Past Research and Biology Projects

  • Assorted monkeypox transcriptomics and genomics; Ebola genomics.
  • Research proposal: Antigenic characterization of newly detected rhinovirus variants; vaccination via polyvalent recombinant capsid protein expression. (This is a detailed proposal about 20 pages in length. Two papers that came out in early 2009 support that this project would have produced generally favorable outcomes.)
  • Summer 2008: Developed a protocol to measure radical/reactive oxygen species in Gram-negative bacteria at the royal Chulabhorn Research Institute in Bangkok, Thailand. Also worked on isolating and identifying a compound (suspected to be homogentisic acid) from a Pseudomonas culture in which a certain oxidase was knocked out.
  • 20.109 research proposal assignment: [enhancement of] vasculogenesis with statins and hyaluronan jelly. mock project only (wiki page)
  • Optimization of Expression, Solubilization and Purification of the Membrane Protein HORF17-4 in E. coli Using Fractional Factorial Design (Zhang Lab).
  • Optimization of Cell-Free Expression of Membrane Proteins with Self-Assembling Peptides (Zhang Lab)
  • Cloning and Expression of UGT1A1 in E. coli (project blog)
  • Airplane Drinking Water Testing for Microbial Contaminants

Honors and Media

  • 2010 William L. Stewart MIT Institute Award
  • 2010 Jeff Roberts Award
  • 2010 William and Betsy Leitch Award
  • Special Congressional Recognition for Environmental Work
  • Environmental Protection Agency environmental service award
  • United Nations Environment Programme youth advisor
  • 2005 International Young Eco-Hero Award
  • June 22, 2006 designated in Moraga, CA as a day of recognition
  • Ready, set, go: Class of 2010 leaps into action. MIT Tech Talk article.
  • A Genius for Leadership: MIT's Amazing Students. MIT Spectrum Summer 2007 article. (Cover page and following pages.)
  • Making their own music. MIT Tech Talk article.
  • See also the links above, in projects.

Lab Skills and Areas of Experience

  • Molecular diagnostics (advanced design and applications of real-time PCR, etc.)
  • Flow cytometry, mass cytometry (panel design, advanced analysis)
  • Sequencing (Sanger, Illumina, 454, principally of viruses; including analysis)
  • Microarrays (design, processing, analysis)
  • Bioinformatics (as noted throughout; high-performance computing, software design; Mathematica, C++, R, Java, C#, VB, others)
  • Process optimization (D-optimal and fractional factorial design of experiments; process scale-up)
  • Cell culture (2D and 3D; most types of bioreactors for mammalian cell and virus growth)
  • General molecular biology (protein gels, Westerns, FPLC, HPLC, Northerns, cloning, SDM)
  • Various mechanical engineering skills, including systems automation, robotics and fluids handling.

Other Interests

I play organ.

I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm a vegetarian, tree-hugger, environmentalist, ... spreading San Francisco values.

And I love to travel.

Personal Sites