Michelle began research during her undergrad studies at Western Oregon University. Upon graduation, she worked at AVI BioPharma Inc. enhancing the bioavailability of antisense molecules. After several years she decided to pursue her PhD to study immune correlates for vaccine development.
Under the guidance of her mentor Gregg Milligan, she is studying the CD8+ T lymphocyte response to herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2). This aims to provide basic insight towards vaccine strategies to generate an optimal cytotoxic T cell immune response for protection against HSV infection of genital and neuronal tissue. The objective is to enhance our understanding of the effects of adjuvants (Poly(I:C), LPS/MPL or CpG) to induce CD8+ effector T cell activation, response magnitude, efficacy of the memory response, and imprinting of tissue homing potential, which are important aspects for effective vaccine design.
Michelle graduated in May of 2011 and went on to do postdoctoral research at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC.