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School of Medicine Greenville

Student Research Spotlight

Elias Wheibe

What are you researching?

Our research project is concerned with characterizing a mechanism the nonstructural protein 1 (nsp1) of SARS-CoV, the causative agent of the 2003 epidemic, in evading initial detection by infected cells. The first line of defense of an infection is mediated by specific pathogen receptors. We are interested in investigating possible nsp1 interactions with the receptors responsible for the activation of the immune system and clearing away the infection.

How could the results benefit patients?

The results from our work will provide a new therapeutic target that can limit viral pathogenicity and promote efficient viral clearance by patient immune system. Furthermore, this knowledge could be applied to viruses related to SARS-CoV such as the current virus responsible for COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2

Tell us why you enjoy research.

I enjoy research for many reasons all interconnected to a thirst of knowledge. Research to me goes beyond performing experiments and gathering data, but represents a methodical thought process that builds on prior experience/techniques, literature review, as well as, innovation to progress and seek new avenues of finding patterns, systems and hidden gems. While it is true the process is often slow, the final products, whatever they be, are direct proofs of self improvement and progression.

What advice would you give to other students considering doing a research project?

My advice to student is to find a topic or field that holds personal interest to them. It is much easier to get excited about the work when a connection holds you to it, be it emotional or intellectual. Furthermore, if you find that you do not enjoy the type of research you are doing, either bench top or clinical, switching and exploring new avenues is completely okay. My final advice is make sure to have done a good literature review before starting work is essential for success.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.