B.S. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of Idaho
M.S. in Microbiology, University of Washington
Research Interests: genome engineering, host-microbe interactions, immunology, therapeutics
esther_mintzer -at- fas.harvard.edu
Esther has been fascinated by microbiology since she read The Hot Zone as a teenager. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Idaho, where she studied rhinovirus-induced degradation of the nuclear pore complex. She then enrolled at the University of Washington, where she engineered gene editing tools for the treatment of chronic viral infections such as HIV. While there, she developed an uncomfortably personal interest in immunology, courtesy of a diagnosis of autoimmune disease.
One 3000-mile cross-country move later, she found herself in the lab of Scot Wolfe at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she again worked on gene editing strategies for targeting HIV. Along the way, she stumbled across a novel DNA repair pathway and a potential therapeutic for aggressive childhood neuroblastoma. Now in the BBS program, she’s excited to investigate the interactions between the microbiome and the immune system, with the hope of eventually engineering immune tolerance.
In addition to her more nerdy interests, Esther enjoys biking, reading, Lindy Hop, experimenting in the kitchen, and is forever contemplating finally writing that novel she's been thinking about for years.