Cynthia Wang, 2014, Molecular Biology

My summer project at the OUCRU in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, involved researching the molecular epidemiology of drug resistance mutations in the hepatitis B virus (HBV). Vietnam has one of the highest rates of chronic HBV infection in the world, and the genotype distribution of HBV amongst the Vietnamese people has not yet been well characterized. During my internship, I isolated HBV genomes in samples from HBV positive patients, and then determined genotypes through sequencing analysis. An understanding of HBV strain genotypes is useful in determining patient response to therapy, disease progression, and disease outcome. From this research experience, I learned laboratory techniques of sequencing, as well as different data analysis techniques to map drug resistance mutations of HBV strains. I found my time at OUCRU to be very rewarding because it deepened my interest in global health studies, particularly infectious diseases in Southeast Asia.