Kaiulani Houston Ph.D.

Student:
Kaiulani Houston
KaiulaniHouston_0242.jpg
Undergraduate Institution: Hampton University
Email: khouston@email.unc.edu
Department: Chemistry
PI: Marcey Waters
Research Summary: Multiple myeloma (MM) is a common and incurable malignancy of plasma cells,the antibody-producing white blood cells present in the bone marrow. As the knowledge of multiple myeloma pathogenesis increases, the number of new potential drug targets also increases. One of these new drug targets is the enzyme Protein Kinase B (Akt) whose dysregulation in multiple myeloma can contribute significantly to tumor cell survival. As drug inhibitors of Akt make their way through the various stages of development and clinical trials, there is a growing need for assays that can measure Akt activity before and after treatment. Our goal is to design and synthesize fluorescent reporters capable of measuring Akt activity in single multiple myeloma cells using capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence (CE-LIF). These reporters are composed of highly folded beta hairpin peptides for protease resistance, Akt substrates to measure kinase activity, and a fluorophore for CE-LIF detection.