Tarik Khan


Headshot of graduate student Tarik KhanHometown: Cary, North Carolina

Research Area: Protein Engineering & Polymeric Vaccine Delivery

Why I chose chemical engineering: Chemical engineering gives you the flexibility to work in many different exciting areas.  Most other disciplines seem to restrict you to a particular application or basic science.  I will never be bored as a chemical engineer.

The lab I work in and my role: I work in Dr. Jennifer Maynard’s lab. Everyday I grow some type of cells, whether bacteria or mammalian.  I produce and purify various proteins and then either analyze them immediately using ligand binding assays, or covalently attach them to homemade polymeric particles designed for vaccine delivery.  I often utilize cloning techniques, FPLC, flow cytometry, ELISAs, water/oil/water emulsions, SEM, and mice.

My favorite spot on campus: My favorite spot on campus must be the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering Building because I spend most of my time there.  I also like Gregory Gym- it is a pretty amazing facility.  Just next to campus, I like to catch up on writing, reading, and emails at JP’s Java and the Spider House Cafe.

My plans after college: I have yet to decide whether or not I will do a post-doc immediately after graduating, but eventually I plan to work in the biopharmaceutical industry.  I will likely work either on developing new vaccines or reducing immunogenicity of therapeutic proteins.

Three things most people don’t know about me:

1. I love scuba diving.

2. I spent some time as a cadet at the US Air Force Academy.

3. I think the SXSW Music Festival may be the best thing ever.

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