As another year comes to close, iCubed would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our final “Featured Researcher of the Month” for 2011, Andres Gutierrez. Andres’ journey to iCubed has taken him back and forth across the globe and we’re fortunate to have him as part of our team.

We first met Andres in January of this year during iCubed’s workshop on Neglected Tropical Diseases. The aim of the workshop, as well as a top priority of iCubed’s mission, is to equip researchers with the knowledge and tools to develop new epitope-driven vaccines. At the time, Andres was a research assistant in the Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Unit and at the Laboratory of Infectious Diseases at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Peru. He was recruited out of a pool of highly qualified international applicants to attend the workshop. Andres began his research to find a vaccine using the iCubed’s immunoinformatics tools candidate that may protect against both human and
porcine cysticercosis (also known as pig tapeworm). Following the workshop, he returned home.

That summer Andres applied and was accepted to the summer phase of the NTD workshop and returned to Providence. He was trained to perform HLA binding assays to validate in vitro the previously predicted immunogenic peptides.

During the summer workshop, Andres also helped organize a meeting on PigMatrix, the informatics tool designed specifically for prediction of new vaccines for pigs, with iCubed’s collaborators. Attendees included researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of Connecticut. Following the end of the workshop, Andres traveled to Chicago where he presented a poster on his research during the Second Immunoinformatics and Computational Immunology Workshop (ICIW). Click here to view his poster.

Andres then applied and was accepted as a transfer student to the University of Rhode Island’s Clinical Laboratory undergraduate program. He is currently taking courses while simultaneously taking on a work load at iCubed. His work focuses on developing immunoinformatics tools to predict T cell epitopes for the design of animal vaccines.

This spring Andres will apply and enroll in the University’s Ph.D. program in Cell and Molecular Biology. Andres’ contributions to iCubed during his short time here speak for themselves. He has dedicated himself to each new endeavor and continues to build on both his education and his research career. iCubed looks forward to what the future holds for Andres.