Brandon was a senior majoring in Biology with a minor in Biotechnology and was a member of the Departmental Honors in Biological Sciences. While studying at UNC Charlotte, Brandon was involved in two Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs. In 2016, he conducted research with Dr. Richard Chi at UNC Charlotte. His research focused on proteins related to the Endosomal system, a continuation of a year’s worth of research in his lab.
The second REU Brandon was involved in was at Johns Hopkins University with Dr. Vincent Hilser. This time, his research focused on metamorphic proteins, a type of protein that breaks the typical one fold, one function paradigm of the protein world. Researching at Johns Hopkins University helped Brandon discover that he wants to specialize in Biophysics. Biophysics and Biotechnology create understanding of proteins and unique cases in order to better address illness, disease, and spur the innovation of new technologies that push the boundaries of scientific capability. He learned about intrinsically disordered proteins and the interesting 50 year protein folding problem. In the future, he wants to work on defining that relationship and “cracking the code” between protein sequence, structure, and function. Brandon is currently applying for graduate schools, with Johns Hopkins University being one of his top choices.
For his Biology Honors thesis, Brandon researched with Dr. Juan Vivero Escoto at UNC Charlotte. This focused on designing and synthesizing Mesoporous silica Nanoparticles for the delivery of siRNA to fight the aggressive nature of triple negative breast cancer by downregulating the expression of a protein they express called Tenascin C. Brandon’s experience in the Biology Honors Program has been a catalyst in his career, putting him into contact with the right people and enabling him to conduct research at one of the top universities in the United States.