Catherine was encouraged to pursue science from a young age, as both of her parents are industry physicists. She was also fortunate enough to have several great teachers whose passion for science was contagious. Her interest in biology and epigenomics, however, stemmed from a drive to help people in her life suffering from genetic diseases.
Catherine’s project involved the evaluation of controls for a technique called chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), which is used to study how proteins and DNA interact in a cell. Because ChIP can be quite error-prone, Catherine sought to evaluate several internal standards to see how effective they were in a technical context. Additionally, she gained experience working with chromatin regulators, which are mechanisms that remove, add, and modify DNA tags that regulate gene expression.
For Catherine, research is a unique experience because it can be both unstructured and intense. "Science in the classroom is like following a cookbook. Conducting research here at the Broad, however, is frustrating, creative, and endlessly exciting. You're making up your own recipes — for better or for worse — as you go along," said Catherine. She felt that her internship provided her with invaluable laboratory experience and taught her how to problem-solve, brainstorm, and regroup after failure.