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Leonora Abdullahu, PhD Candidate

Biography

Leonora is a PhD candidate in the lab of Prof. Masad Damha at McGill University. Her expertise lies at the interface of organic synthesis and chemical biology of nucleic acids, as she synthesizes novel oligonucleotides to study enzymes implicated in splicing (tRNA 2′-phosphotransferase) and gene editing (CRISPR Cas9 and Cas12a). The application-based design of Leonora’s research has allowed her to follow projects through from novel monomer synthesis, to incorporation of novel monomers into oligonucleotide synthesis, to studying in vivo applications of modified oligonucleotides. She recently spent two months studying molecular biology techniques in the lab of Prof. Stewart Shuman at the Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York City, where she used her own RNA molecules to carry out transient-state kinetic analysis of Tpt1 homologues. Prior to her doctorate studies, Leonora obtained her B.Sc. from McMaster University, where she developed a keen interest in polymers and stimuli-responsive materials.

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