Frances Valencia became interested in a career in biomedical sciences during her undergraduate career at St. Mary's University, San Antonio, TX. It is throughout this time that she had the opportunity to participate in three summers of research at outside institutions in the fields of toxicology, biochemistry, and infectious disease. The last summer at University of Virginia, Charlottesville,VA under the guidance of Dr. Barbara Mann, she spent the summer working with Francisella tularensis RNA and proteins in order to identify potential virulence factors via gene expression studies. The field of infectious disease piqued her interest and influenced her decision to attend UTMB. Upon joining the Nigel Bourne lab she developed an interest in the impact of exogenous substances on infectious disease. The objective of her current project is to identify the impact of METH on herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) pathogenesis using established murine models. The central hypothesis of this project is that METH alters the innate immune response, therefore, increasing susceptibility to infection and presentation of genital herpes disease.