Emily Silzel


Ph.D. Physiology and Biophysics, University of California, Irvine, 2026 (expected)
B.S. Biochemistry, Biola University, La Mirada, 2020


Emily studies lipid nanoparticle vaccines with the goal of making specific tissue-targeting vaccines.


Emily studied biochemistry in her undergraduate education but realized she had much more “chemistry” with the biology side of her degree. She originally joined UCI as a lab technician to measure human SARS CoV-2 antibody responses via protein microarray in Dr. Philip Felgner’s lab. This led to a fascination with the mRNA lipid nanoparticle vaccine formulation, from which Emily has based her new Ph.D. research project. She works on lipid nanoparticle vaccine formulations traveling to target tissues, ideally to reduce dosing and side effects while improving efficacy. When not in the lab, Emily can be found hanging out with her four pets, listening to synth rock while running, or carrying too many books out of the fiction section of one of her local libraries.

Why is science communication important to you personally?

One of the most critical aspects of being a scientist is being able to communicate one’s ideas and findings. To have community support or funding, being able to relay even the most complex of topics to the public promotes a safer and healthier community through understanding and critical thinking. I firmly believe that if everyone understands current advances, then everyone has the chance to make recommendations and suggestions towards advancing research. Scientists lose the input of much of the population when their current data are inaccessible to the community. Scientific communication becomes a bridge for scientists and public alike in moving forward toward a healthier, safer, and more informed world.

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