Member Profiles

Jessica McKenzie

Jessica McKenzie received her Bachelors of Science in Human Biology from The University of Texas in May 2009. As an undergraduate student, Jessica was a member of the TriBeta National Biological Honors society and it was at one of their meetings that Jessica was first introduced to the work done by Dr. Kenneth Johnson. After hearing his talk, Jessica quickly emailed Dr. Johnson to see if she could volunteer in his lab and have the opportunity to learn more about his work. Jessica excelled in the lab and began taking on more tasks including being an assistant to Dr. JoAnn Hunter Johnson. This proved to be an invaluable experience as she was immediately attracted to the challenges and excitement of working in the laboratory. In the Johnson Lab, Jessica knew she had found a special place where she wanted to continue to work towards pursuing research as a profession. She then joined the Cell and Molecular Graduate Program in the fall of 2009. After completing two very enjoyable and valuable rotations through Dr. Kevin Dalby and Dr. Rick Russell's labs, Jessica joined the Johnson Lab in February 2010.

In the Johnson Lab, Jessica will work on HIV-1 Reverse Transcriptase. This is the enzyme that through the use of its polymerase and ribonuclease activity, copies the single stranded viral RNA into double stranded DNA before it integrates into a human host. HIV RT is critical for viral replication and a common target of antiviral therapy in the treatment of AIDS. Jessica will use pre-steady state kinetic methods to examine the enzymatic activities of HIV RT with an RNA/DNA heteroduplex as a substrate.

In her free time, Jessica likes to spend time with her fiancé Nathan, and her family and friends. She enjoys shopping, traveling, watching football, and she is working on developing her cooking skills


send all questions and comments to the webmaster
This page was last updated Fri, February 26, 2010 15:14