This summer Brandon took part in a project poised at developing a vaccine for Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori), a bacterium that resides within the recesses of the stomach, is attributed to stomach inflammation and possesses links to gastric ulcers and stomach cancer. The overall plan for such an endeavor was to eventually stymie the harmful bacterium in addition to its negative effects – such as gastric adenocarcinoma and ulcer disease. The project was part of an effort made by Dr. De Groot and Dr. Moss, an accomplished researcher in the realm of H. pylori cancers, to determine a mode of reprieve from the bacterium. Essentially, the H. pylori project introduced by Dr. De Groot and Dr. Moss to EpiVax, and now I’Cubed, has taken the following course: two H. pylori genomes have been determined along with the synthesis of 100 epitopes while immune-effective epitopes have been cloned into a vaccine. Subsequent protection against H. pylori has been illustrated in a mouse model. The final sector of the project has evolved in the form of assessing the immunological tolerance imparted by some of the epitopes. These epitopes also may affect the potency of the vaccine to a certain degree.

With the knowledge acquired through my experience working on the H. pylori vaccine project as well as my experience at I’Cubed in its entirety, I hope to pursue studies in the biological field throughout college. I am fascinated by the scientific field, especially that of chemistry and biology. Through working at I’Cubed on the H. pylori project, I have attained invaluable experience in terms of applying concepts I have studied in class to reality. I am able to connect procured knowledge to laboratory procedures such as binding assays, peptide formation, and “antigenicity” evaluation. Also, I can witness and partake in the wonders attributed to immunology in improving the lives of others. I hope to further cement my aspirations for pursuance of a biological career, potentially delving into the specific field of immunology. Although these career ambitions will stem from future endeavors, I hope to expand my knowledge gained from I’Cubed and a biological college major by applying to medical school.