Jessica Nicastro, B.Sc., M.Sc.

Ph.D. Candidate
School of Pharmacy
University of Waterloo

jnicastro@uwaterloo.ca

Education:

  • Bachelor of Science, Honours Biomedical Science, University of Waterloo, Waterloo ON 
  • Master of Science, Pharmacy (Specialization in Pharmaceutics and Nanomedicine), University of Waterloo, Waterloo ON 

About:

Jessica is currently enrolled in the Ph.D. program at the School of Pharmacy working under the supervision of Dr. Roderick Slavcev. Previously, Jessica completed an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Waterloo and recently successfully defended for her Master's degree at the school of Pharmacy under Dr. Slavcev on the construction and characterization of a highly controlled dsDNA phage display system. Her Ph.D. program will build on this previous research to apply this new technology toward the development of a new DNA-VLP targeted phage vaccine against HIV. 

AWARDs:

  • NSERC PGS-D Scholarship (2016-2018)
  • UW President's Scholarship (2014-2018)
  • UW School of Pharmacy Special Merit Award for Substantial Impact on the Overall Research Mission (2016) 
  • Nominated for Dean's Dissertation Award (2014)
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2014-2015)
  • CIHR (DSECT) Training Scholarship (2012-2013)

 

patents PENDING:

  • Slavcev, R. & Nicastro J., “Phage Display”, U.S. Patent: 14/260,732, issued date April 24, 2014.

Peer-Reviewed publications:

  • Nicastro, J., Sheldon, K., & Slavcev, R. A. (2014). Bacteriophage lambda display systems: developments and applications. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 98(7), 2853–2866.

  • Nicastro, J., Sheldon, K., El-Zarkout, F. a, Sokolenko, S., Aucoin, M. G., & Slavcev, R. (2013). Construction and analysis of a genetically tuneable lytic phage display system. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 97(17), 7791–804.

  • Sokolenko, S., Nicastro, J., Slavcev, R., & Aucoin, M. G. (2012). Graphical analysis of flow cytometer data for characterizing controlled fluorescent protein display on λ phage. Cytometry. Part A : The Journal of the International Society for Analytical Cytology, 81(12), 1031–1039. 

Books:

  • Jessica Nicastro, Shirley Wong, Zahra Khazaei, Peggy Lam, Jonathan Blay, Roderick A. Slavcev. Bacteriophage Applications—Historical Perspective and Future Potential. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature Publishing, 2016.

Book Chapters:

  • Nicastro, J. An overview of bacteriophage lifecycles and applications. In: Bacteriophage Applications—Historical Perspectives and Future Applications, Springer Nature Publishing.

  • Nicastro, J., Wong, S., and R.A. Slavcev. Bacteriophages functionalized for gene delivery and the targeting of gene networks. In: Bacteriophage Applications—Historical Perspectives and Future Applications, Springer Nature Publishing.

  • Nicastro, J. and R.A. Slavcev. Phage for biodetection. In: Bacteriophage Applications—Historical Perspectives and Future Applications, Springer Nature Publishing.

  • Khazaei, Z., Nicastro, J. and R.A. Slavcev. Phage for biodetection. In: Bacteriophage Applications—Historical Perspectives and Future Applications, Springer Nature Publishing.

  • Lam, P., Nicastro, J. and J. Blay Phage device coatings. In: Bacteriophage Applications—Historical Perspectives and Future Applications, Springer Nature Publishing.

  • Nicastro, J., Wong, S., and R.A. Slavcev. Phage-mediated immunomodulation. In: Bacteriophage Applications—Historical Perspectives and Future Applications, Springer Nature Publishing.

presentationS:

Undergraduate Lectures

  • Nicastro, J. “Molecular Methods and Bacterial Transformation” (2014). Presented at:  University of Waterloo, The School of Pharmacy; Waterloo, ON.                                            

Poster Presentations

  • Nicastro, J., & Slavcev, R. “Construction and characterization of an HIV DNA-VLP vaccine using bacteriophage lambda” (2016). Presented at: Nano Ontario Conference; Guelph, ON. 
  • Nicastro, J., Sheldon, K., Aucoin, M. G., & Slavcev, R., (2013). “Construction and analysis of a genetically tuneable lytic phage display system”. Presented at: The International Evergreen Phage Conference; Olympia, WA.
  • Nicastro, J., Sheldon, K., Aucoin, M. G., & Slavcev, R., (2013). “Construction and analysis of a genetically tuneable lytic phage display system” Presented at:  Association of Faculties Pharmacy Canada Conference; Niagara Falls, ON.

Oral Presentations

  • Nicastro, J., & Slavcev, R. “Construction and characterization of an HIV DNA-VLP vaccine using bacteriophage lambda” (2014). Presented at: The Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) Graduate Student Research Seminar Series; Waterloo, ON. 
  • Nicastro, J., (2014). “The antiparasitic agent ivermectin induces chloride-dependent membrane hyperpolarization and cell death in leukemia cells”. Presented at:  School of Pharmacy 10ercritique competition; Waterloo, ON                                        
  • Nicastro, J., & Slavcev, R.,  (2013). “Construction and characterization of an HIV DNA-VLP vaccine using bacteriophage lambda”. Presented at:  School of Pharmacy Research Seminar Series; Waterloo, ON                                        
  • Borg-Debono, V. & Nicactro, J., (2013)“Dabigatran effect on Staphlococcus aureus virulence” Presented at: The Drug Safety and Effectiveness Expert Advisory Committee (DSEEAC).