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Rensselaer scholar receives NSF Research Fellowship
Date:6/8/2011

p>A specific type of protein fragment called PAPf39 is formed from a protein secreted by the male prostate. That fragment has been found to form fibrils that increase the transmission of HIV by up to 100,000 times over its non-aggregated form. French is currently studying how and under what conditions the less virulent single fragments or monomers of PAPf39 come together or aggregate to create what appears to be a much more potent vehicle for transmitting the deadly virus.

"By understanding how the aggregates are formed, we can lay the foundation to better understand how HIV is transmitted," French said. "And by understanding that process, we hope to begin putting the pieces in place to hopefully develop a new therapeutic against HIV transmission."

Her research has already been published in the journal Biochemistry and will continue with the new NSF funding. The research under the NSF program will be a broad study of how proteins form aggregates with implications for medicine as well as industries that rely on proteins in their products.

French grew up in Cherry Plain, N.Y., as one of six children. She is an active mentor and tutor in her community as well as a certified lifeguard.


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Contact: Gabrielle DeMarco
demarg@rpi.edu
518-276-6542
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert  

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Rensselaer scholar receives NSF Research Fellowship
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