Following two internships fell as a result of this summer, fourth-year University of Virginia university student Jonathan Danis located himself working COVID-19 antibody assessments at the Washington University School of Drugs in St. Louis.

“I felt particularly blessed,” Danis claimed. “As a biology key, it was just genuinely fascinating to be in a scenario where I am carrying out my possess investigate, reading through content articles and studying about virology and immunology firsthand.”

Danis, an avid musician who is in quite a few rock bands and has an album out, inevitably hopes to combine his interests in medicine and tunes and pursue music treatment.

Just before the pandemic hit, he experienced received a grant for a cardiology investigation internship in Dusseldorf, Germany. He was pretty excited about it, but speedily recognized that COVID-19 would hold off that particular opportunity. Undaunted, he located a different summertime internship, this time executing study on music and cognition in a Vanderbilt College lab. Soon, even though, that internship was also cancelled.

That’s when Danis’ grandfather, who lives in St. Louis, talked to his neighbor, immunologist Daved Freemont. Freemont necessary additional lab experts to help him operate COVID-19 antibody checks, in hopes of monitoring the prevalence of the virus in the St. Louis space.

In Freemont’s lab, Danis’ primary undertaking was to run tests, known as ELISA tests, that identify the existence of COVID-19 antibodies in blood samples. Screening one plate – a piece of lab machines with 96 take a look at tubes – takes about 9 several hours. From time to time, Danis would examination as numerous as 40 plates at the same time, typically performing perfectly into the night.

The procedure associated adding a distinct protein to the samples that can bind to COVID-19 antibodies, and then applying different remedies to rinse absent other components, finally leaving only the antibodies certain to the protein. At a single issue in the procedure, if antibodies are current, the sample will turn a fluorescent blue and then, after the addition of sulfuric acid, a shiny yellow.  

“You can begin to see it, visually, which is really neat,” Danis said. “The additional blue a sample turns, the more yellow it will be right after introducing the acid. The a lot more yellow it is, the a lot more favourable it is – that means that there are additional antibodies present.”

“It was just truly interesting to be in a situation where by I am carrying out my have study, examining article content and studying about virology and immunology firsthand.”

– Jonathan Danis

Danis ran tests for many unique experiments inside of Freemont’s lab, like a person screening for antibodies in mice that experienced received a demo vaccine dose, just one screening random samples from the St. Louis space to try to discover the true infection amount in the city, and even a rapid test of his very own sample (he did not have any antibodies).

Although he is back again at UVA now, Danis is still performing with a doctoral scholar on a soon-to-be published analysis paper about the experiments screening for virus prevalence in St. Louis – information that he hopes will be useful in the ongoing struggle from COVID-19.

“It can be an instructive assist in knowledge the program of the pandemic, in the metropolis and nationally,” he stated.

Operating on the paper has also offered Danis important and unconventional experience in study and publication, specially for an undergraduate.

“At the commencing of the summer months, I was conflicted about if I wished to utilize to clinical school, and I feel this knowledge has swayed me far more to the investigation side of medicine, potentially pursing a Ph.D. in a comparable industry,” he said.

Proper now, Danis designs on finishing up his fourth year and then heading to Germany where by, he hopes, he will get to the entire the research internship he had at first secured for last summer time. Then, he will go after a master’s degree in music at Berkelee College or university of Tunes in Boston..

“I’m executing that for my own particular adore of songs,” he said. “Then, I hope to seem into a discipline like tunes therapy, combining my two passions.”