Dr. Uchechi Ukaegbu obtained her B.A. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California, Berkeley and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University. Her doctoral work focused on understanding a family of proteins that regulate the expression of methane monooxygenases (MMOs), enzymes found in methanotrophic bacteria that are capable of oxidizing methane to methanol. The mechanism by which methantophs easily break the inert C-H bond in methane at ambient temperatures and pressures is of high interest as repetition of this reaction in industrial processes is highly inefficient and costly. During her tenure as a graduate student, she was also honored with the Rappaport Research Excellence Award and the NIH Cell and Molecular Basis of Disease Training grant.
For her postdoctoral work, Dr. Ukaegbu contributed her expertise in protein biochemistry to the laboratory of Kirk Deitsch at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. The research group is focused on using genetic approaches to understand the switching patterns of a family of genes called var that express the premier antigenic determinant in Plasmodium falciparum malaria. In collaboration with other research programs, Dr. Ukaegbu and the Deitsch lab were able to determine that a unique var gene occupies an important position in the family’s switching mechanismand that expression of this gene is affected by the phosphorylation status of the parasite’s RNA polymerase II.
Dr. Ukaegbu also holds an adjunct professor position at the City University of New York, Medgar Evers College, where she teachesundergraduate students General Biology and Microbiology. She is currently a Scientist in the Process Development and Manufacturing Sciences Department at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson and Johnson. Dr. Ukaegbu looks forward to reviewing exciting research papers from her peers.
Dr. Ukaegbu’s research interests are in many facts of biological sciences including protein biochemistry; bacteriology; parasitology and virology.