Ritah Ogayo, BS
Ritah received her Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Biochemistry from Hillsdale College in 2020. Here, she completed an undergraduate thesis in Dr. Johnson’s Virology Lab titled “Role of LIN28 in Murine Leukemia Virus Replication.” Her goal was to investigate whether LIN28 is part of a novel retroviral restriction pathway that targets retroviral RNAs for TUT4/7 mediated degradation. She also worked in Dr. VanZant’s Conservation Genetics Lab where she utilized DNA isolation and sequencing to identify unknown organisms from the Hillsdale Slayton Arboretum.
Ritah spent the summer of her junior year at the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Here, she worked with Dr. Schulze in the Oncolytic Virotherapy Lab on a project titled, “MicroRNA-Restricted Mengovirus Formulated as Synthetic Infectious RNA for Oncolytic Immunovirotherapy.” Specifically, she developed and did in vitro characterization of the first microRNA detargeted, poly C deleted Mengovirus infectious RNA that can be evaluated in immune competent animals. She also explored the development and characterization of Mengovirus based replicon vaccines expressing tumor specific antigen fusion proteins, CRT/E7 and Sig/E7/LAMP-1, which have been shown to enhance anti -HPV E7 specific T-cell responses.
Ritah is now a research technician in the Breast Tumor Immunology Lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She is excited to expand her knowledge on clinical and translational breast cancer immunotherapy. In her role as a research technician, she is responsible for the processing and banking of clinical samples from breast cancer patients enrolled in current clinical trials. She also plays a role in the analysis of clinical samples to address important questions related to therapy.
Interests Outside of Lab
When not in lab you can find Ritah reading, working out, dancing, or designing clothes