Todd Alexander, PhD Student
Hometown: Foxboro, MA
Previous degrees/school where the degree was earned: BS, Chemical Engineering, WPI
Why did you choose WPI for your PhD?
I enjoyed my time as an undergraduate, and had wonderful professors and mentors. WPI is a world-class institution, with vast academic resources. The unique opportunity of the IGERT program was another large part of why I decided to continue on at WPI for my PhD. To have a program that incorporates collaboration with other students with different backgrounds of knowledge, and the emphasis that is put on creativity, creates a program that was too good to pass up.
What area(s) of research are you currently exploring?
Currently I am working with tethered antimicrobial peptide systems (AMPs).
In which professors laboratory are you currently working?
Briefly describe the research:
I explore the tethering of AMPs to a functionalized surface to determine if their antimicrobial activity can be used in an applied way, such as coating an implantable medical device or coating a food preparation surface. The effectiveness of the antimicrobial activity of the bound peptides is affected by the following: AMP density, spacer flexibility, AMP orientation, and spacer length. I look to examine the effect of spacer length on the antimicrobial activity of the AMP chrysophsin-1. Comparisons between the antimicrobial activity of chrysophsin-1 linked to different length polyethylene glycol (PEG) based spacer molecules will be made. Determining the effect of spacer length on antimicrobial activity will allow for the optimization of antimicrobial activity for this peptide and help determine the mechanism by which the peptide acts.