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YPIE Scientist: Nirel Ayertey

Updated: May 30, 2023

Research: Generation of Chimeric Antibodies for Immunofluorescence Assays to Study the Malaria-causing Parasite

Mentor: Dr. Sebastian Bol

Research Location: UT San Antonio

Awards: WESEF 2023 - Creative Approach to Research Award, Participant in Westlake Science Fair (2021), Regeneron Science Talent Search 2022


Being able to visualize the localization of proteins in cells can be a crucial part in understanding disease pathogenesis. One way proteins can be imaged is by using immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy. However, issues often occur when scientists want to simultaneously examine multiple proteins in a sample. A solution to this problem is to create chimeric antibodies, which are human antibodies with another species’ Fc tail. In this study, two plasmids that coded for the heavy chain of a human anti-MSP1 were genetically engineered to produce antibodies with a rat or mouse Fc tail. Then these plasmids, along with the plasmids that coded for the light chain of the human anti-MSP1, were transfected into mammalian cells. The results of the Sanger Sequencing verified that the DNA still contained both the human regions of the original antibody and the new species’ regions. A protein gel was run to confirm the identity of the novel antibody produced. The chimeric antibody’s expected mass was 150 KDa, with each light chain weighing 25 KDa and each heavy chain weighing 50 KDa. The non-reduced chimeric antibody (the two heavy chains and light chains together) and the reduced chimeric antibody (the heavy chains and light chains separated) were run on the gel, and bands at those expected masses were detected on the gel. These findings confirmed that we had successfully created novel chimeric antibodies that could be used for improvements in immunofluorescence microscopy.

About this Scientist: Nirel Ayertey is a senior who is currently pursuing her IB Diploma at Yonkers High School. She will be attending Brown University as a biology major in the fall. After college she plans on enrolling in an M.D/PhD program and becoming a pathologist, in order to pursue her dream of working in a laboratory to help study and diagnose diseases.

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