I received my Bachelors of Science from University of California, Fresno in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. As an undergraduate I worked at the USDA:ARS, where my work focused on virus discovery in the Glassy Winged Sharpshooter, the main vector of the bacteria, Xylella fastidiosa, which causes Piecre disease in grapes.
I began graduate school at UCR in the Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics program in Fall 2010 under the mentorship of Dr. Shou-wei Ding. My research focuses on understanding the genetic mechanisms that function in viral innate immunity using the model system Caenorhabditis elegans by utilizing a transgenic strain that contains a modified, genomic RNA sequence from Flock House Virus (FHV), a prototypical (+) sense RNA virus. This modified FHV transgene replicates to low levels in the wild-type worm, but is able to replicate to high levels when the worm's innate immune system has been genetically compromised. Furthermore, the transgene contains a GFP reporter that is replicated by the viral RNA-dependent RNA Polymerase and acts as a visual read out for viral replication. This unique system allows for viral replication to be studied in a living animal and gives us access to a plethora of powerful genetic and molecular tools that have made C. elegans such a successful model system. My research utilizes forwards genetics as a discovery tool to find novel genes that function in innate immunity and video bioinformatics to learn about the the dynamic sub-cellular localization of viral replication and innate immunity pathways that target RNA viruses, such as RNAi.
Stephanie recieved her Ph.D. in Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics from the University of California Riverside in 2015.
Link to Stephanie's Ph.D. Dissertation