Research Technician, Alexandrov Laboratory
Krista Knowles received her B.Sc. in Biochemistry, with a minor in Chemistry, from Clemson University in May 2019. During undergraduate studies at Clemson, Krista Knowles conducted her research on improving abiotic stress tolerance of Arabidopsis thaliana in the lab of Dr. Hong Luo. Additionally, Krista Knowles taught laboratory classes in Dr. Meredith Morris’s outreach program for underrepresented middle school students in STEM as part of the Creative Inquiry program. After joining the lab of Dr. Alexandrov in the Clemson Center for Human Genetics in September 2019, Krista Knowles is actively participating in all aspects of experimental lab research and performs duties of a de facto lab manager.
In the lab of Dr. Alexandrov, Krista Knowles conducts high-throughput CRISPR-based forward genetic screening of the pathways of RNA degradation in human cells. During the past year, Krista Knowles became an expert in constructing high-quality complex pooled lentiviral CRISPR guide RNA libraries: her omission sgRNA libraries are currently being screened to identify additional components of the (i) pathways of nuclear biogenesis, regulation, and surveillance of the human cancer-associated nuclear long non-coding RNA MALAT1 and (ii) nonsense-mediated mRNA degradation pathway; her custom-made dense mutagenesis libraries are currently being employed in highly experimental forward genetic screening of the multi-functional essential human complex, RNA exosome, with the aim to identify docking sites of distinct RNA degradation pathways and target them with minimal toxicity. The cutting edge technology that Krista employs could further be applied to multiple other human pathways.