Blake Kruger is an LSU Ogden Honors College student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with minors in biological science and German. His family, immigrants from South Africa, first came to America when his father attended LSU for his Ph.D. in cultural anthropology and geography. When the time came, Blake followed in his father’s footsteps to his alma mater. His mother received her bachelor’s in political science at Illinois State University and they both now live in North Carolina with his two little sisters, Casey and Sarah.
Blake has worked in laboratories both in the United States and abroad as a research aide to Dr. Tony Karam in Dr. Louis Haber’s laboratory in LSU’s Department of Chemistry to synthesize gold nanoparticles for second harmonic generation studies, in Dr. Christopher Parsons’ translational science laboratory studying biomarkers for liver disease progression in HIV-infected patients at the LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, working in Dr. Wolfgang Parak’s laboratory on biodegradability experiments for a variety of drug vectors, and now works on his own project as a collaboration between the three prior mentors for developing a new therapy for Kaposi’s Sarcoma. The current work he is doing is under Dr. Louis Haber to synthesize a new si-RNA drug complex using gold-silver-gold core-shell-shell nanoparticles as a photothermal therapy for Kaposi’s Sarcoma, an HIV-associated oncogenic malignancy prevalent in traditionally underrepresented populations. This work is also the topic of Blake’s thesis project and has been supported by the Ogden Honors Leaders Program.
In addition to research, Blake is an active participant in the pre-medical society Alpha Epsilon Delta, the Student Affiliates of the American Chemical Society, the College of Science Honors Scholars, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor’s Program, Phi Sigma Pi, and the College of Science Student Government Undergraduate Programs Committee. In the future, Blake hopes to attend medical school to pursue an M.D./M.P.H. in infectious diseases and public health epidemiology. He hopes this work will take him to clinics across the world so that he may use the knowledge and skills he has learned at LSU, and his future graduate institution, to address healthcare inequity in ‘health care deserts.’