Angelica Medina is a postdoctoral fellow in the Early Translation Branch within NCATS’ Division of Preclinical Innovation, where she works under Emily M. Lee, Ph.D., on the Antiviral Program for Pandemics as a member of the Advanced Models and Cell Discovery Assay group. Medina uses her background in virology and viral disease modeling with induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)–generated tissue to implement new assay technologies to develop physiologically relevant assays for drug discovery and development in the context of viral infections.
Prior to joining NCATS in 2022, Medina earned her doctorate in cell and molecular biology from Florida State University, where she worked on understanding RNA viruses and stem cell–based 2-D models in the laboratory of Hengli Tang, Ph.D. The main focus of her doctoral studies was to investigate mechanisms of flavivirus neuroinvasion using several models, including traditional cell lines and stem cell–differentiated platforms. Using a human stem cell–derived brain microvascular endothelial cell (iBMEC) model as the primary platform to study flavivirus interactions with the blood–brain barrier, she contributed to the evaluation of the neuroinvasion abilities of a panel of alphavirus and flavivirus members in vitro and the description of the iBMEC’s intrinsic expression of a critical interferon-induced gene, which is key for the selective restriction of non-neurotropic flaviviruses.
Medina obtained her Bachelor’s degree in biology from the Universidad Simón Bolívar in Caracas, Venezuela, where she worked under Carolina Pestana, Ph.D., on genetic determinants for cardiovascular disease related to polymorphisms in blood coagulation factors in the human molecular genetics laboratory. She also gained experience in molecular biology research while working as a research intern in the laboratory of Shu-Bing Qian, Ph.D., at Cornell University, using ribosome profiling to understand translational control of gene expression.
Medina’s current research interests are focused on developing viral models for antiviral drug discovery, high-throughput virus assay design, high-throughput screening, tissue engineering and cell culture of immortalized cells, iPSC-derived cells, and primary cells to biofabricate 3-D tissue equivalents for viral disease modeling and drug screening.