I graduated from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, with a BSc degree (First Class) in Genetics and Microbiology, following which I undertook Molecular Medicine Honours and MSc (Med) degrees (with Distinction) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. The focus of my postgraduate research in South Africa was on the application of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing for HIV therapeutic development. I employed enhanced specificity nuclease and nickase Cas9 variants for the targeted disruption of the human CCR5 co-receptor in an effort to preclude R5-tropic HIV infection of human immune cells.
My DPhil project in the Wood Laboratory is focused on the application of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing for therapeutic development of fatal and highly debilitating hereditary neuromuscular diseases, namely Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and Spinal Muscular Atrophy. As there is currently no cure for these diseases, the ultimate goal of my project is to employ novel CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology advancements to achieve permanent correction of the causative genetic defects. Concurrently, I am exploring the function of myogenic miRNA biomarkers and potential applicability for the promotion of muscle fiber stabilisation and regeneration.
Application of CRISPR-Cas9-Mediated Genome Editing for the Treatment of Myotonic Dystrophy Type 1.
Marsh S. et al, (2020), Mol Ther
Mutation-independent proteomic signatures of pathological progression in murine models of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
van Westering TLE. et al, (2020), Mol Cell Proteomics
Extracellular microRNAs exhibit sequence-dependent stability and cellular release kinetics.
Coenen-Stass AML. et al, (2019), RNA Biol, 16, 696 - 706