Chemistry Student Does Summer Research in Belgium

BelgiumJake Reed, a senior Chemistry major and Honors student at ASU, spent 6 weeks in Leuven, Belgium this summer participating in virology research at the Rega Institute for Medical Research, a research unit of the prestigious Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. This opportunity arose for Jake as he has been conducting research in Dr. Stephens’ lab over the past year on the synthesis of potential drug inhibitors for the treatment of Human Herpes Virus-6 (HHV-6), a virus that causes the childhood illness known as Roseola and that may also be involved in the development of other diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and some cancers. While in Belgium, Jake conducted virology experiments in the laboratory of Dr. Lieve Naesens, a leading virologist who oversees the antiviral testing component of the HHV-6 project. Jake learned many new lab techniques and even developed a new procedure for analyzing the enzymatic activity of the virus. In addition to meeting and working with Dr. Naesens and other researchers at Rega, Jake also had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Erik De Clercq, a renowned virologist who was involved with developing some of the drugs currently used to treat HIV. When not in the lab, Jake had a chance to explore the city of Leuven, and on one weekend he even hoped a train to Paris, France for some additional site seeing. 

BelgiumNow back at ASU this fall, Jake will begin the writing of his Honors Thesis, which will focus on his HHV-6 research. He also plans on presenting his research at the SERMACS conference in Raleigh, NC in November. Upon graduating from ASU, Jake hopes to attend medical school.

Jake’s trip was funded by the ASU Foundation, the HHV-6 Foundation (based in Santa Barbara, CA), and the Rega Institute for Medical Research. Jake’s research at ASU has been funded by the ASU Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (CURS). Below are two photos of Jake while in Belgium: one of Jake (on far left) with Dr. Naesens (2nd from left) and other research group members, and one of Jake with Dr. Erik De Clercq.

Job well done Jake!