Lead Research Specialist
Department of Biochemistry
Office: Rollins Research Center
4150 Rollins Research Center
Atlanta, GA 30322
My name is Samantha Rice, I am from Tuscaloosa AL where I spent most of my life. After high school, I attended Auburn University where I received a Bachelor’s of Science in Laboratory and Medical Technology in 2012. Immediately after graduating college, I began working at Southern Research in Birmingham AL as a laboratory manager for a HIV laboratory. There I focused on maintaining the lab’s day to day functions while working on vaccinia virus related experiments studying the membrane fusion and viral entry of HIV-1 into human T-cells. Specifically our work studied a CCR5 delta 32 base pair deletion mutation found in a small population of Europeans which rendered them resistant to HIV-1 viral entry. The height of these studies revolved around trying to express and purify the coreceptor CCR5 so that we could analyze its crystal structure and compare this structure to the CCR5 crystal structure of patients with the CCR5 delta 32 mutation.
In 2015, I began working for the High Throughput Screening Facility at Southern Research. There I became a biology screener for cell based assays focused on infectious disease drug discovery. I was a part of a team that screened compound libraries with over 1 million novel small molecule compounds using robotics systems. Many of the assays I worked on were for SARS corona virus, West Nile Virus, Chikungunya virus, VEE, H1N1, H5N1, H3N2, and ZIka virus. Most of these viral assays were handled in BSL-3 containment. I also maintained the cell biology portion of most cell-based screens meaning I propagated and maintained all of the mammalian cell culture needed for experiments.
In 2016 I moved from Birmingham, AL to Newnan, Ga for my husband’s job. I made the transition to Emory University in Jan 2017 where I now currently work as the Lead Research Specialist in the Liang lab. Here I manage the day to day functions of the laboratory. I also maintain the cell biology aspect of this laboratory which is focused on insect cell culture. I look forward to learning and working on new aspects in this laboratory like X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy in the future.