Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2023
Home Department: Chemical Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Stanley Qi (Bioengineering) and Katherine Ferrara (Radiology)

Research Title: Autonomous Genetic Switches for mRNA Therapy and Autoimmune Disease

Research Description: mRNA therapy is a powerful platform for treating disease. However, few technologies can control when and where mRNA therapies exert their therapeutic effects in the body. To improve this control, Crystal is working on creating a new technology that can turn mRNA therapies on or off in T cells. These “switches” will allow T cells to control their own function based on their cell or disease state. Crystal plans to combine these mRNA switches with existing methods for delivering mRNA into the body, with the aim of creating more effective treatments for autoimmune diseases. Her research will not only improve mRNA therapies but also help us better understand how T cells are regulated at the genetic level.