Student Research Spotlight - Madison Hogans
Madison Hogans won second place in the poster category, University-Wide Undergraduate Student Winners in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, during the virtual 2021 Auburn Research: Student Symposium.
Hometown: Dothan, Alabama
Major and degree: Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Sciences
College: College of Sciences and Mathematics
Department: Research in the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Pathobiology
Class year: Senior
Faculty mentor: Bruce Smith and Payal Agarwal
Elucidation of Canine Adenovirus Type 2 Tropism can Lead to an Improved Gene Therapy Tool
What are you researching?
Gene therapy is a technique that uses gene editing (addition, deletion or modification) to treat a variety of different diseases. For gene editing, gene transfer tools such as viral vectors are commonly used. The Human Adenovirus Ad5 serves as a powerful gene therapy tool; however, some cell types, especially certain cancer cells, cannot be infected by Ad5. The purpose of my research is to identify the cell surface receptors involved in the infection of a different adenovirus, Canine Adenovirus type 2.
How could the results benefit individuals, agencies or companies?
Canine Adenovirus type 2 is an efficient gene therapy vector; however, it is limited in its potential as it cannot replicate in humans. By identifying the tropism of Canine Adenovirus type 2, we will be able to modify Human Adenovirus to mimic this tropism. This modification will allow Human Adenovirus to be used in various cells in humans that were otherwise refractory to target many different diseases, such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis and cancer.
Tell us why you enjoy research.
After volunteering at Give Kids the World, I knew that I wanted to find a way to make a difference for those affected by cancer. Participating in Dr. Bruce Smith’s lab under Dr. Payal Agarwal has given me the tools to do this. Through this lab, I have been given the opportunity to further learn about topics that interest me while also learning skills that go beyond what can be learned in the classroom. Overall, participating in research has helped me grow as a student both in and outside of the lab.
What advice would you give to other students considering doing a research project?
My advice would be to reach out to professors from classes you have enjoyed taking, because there is a good chance they are involved in research that you would enjoy participating in. If you already know a topic or if there is something specific that you are interested in researching, I advise looking it up on Auburn’s website to see if there is any research related to it; this is exactly how I found my research. Lastly, do not be afraid to email professors; most are always excited to have new students join their lab.
Tell us about any hobbies or activities you enjoy.
In my free time, I enjoy tutoring at the Esperanza House through the Student Association for Mentoring. I also enjoy running, reading, writing and having movie and game nights with my friends.