Noble and Greenough School
Dedham, MA

Daniel Hitchcock
Metabolomics Platform

“I applied to Broad because I was sure computer science and biology were interests I wanted to pursue, but I wasn’t sure how they could be simultaneously applied to real-life situations,” said Alejandra. She got her wish! Along with her partner Melica, Alejandra developed a web application to help researchers in the metabolomics platform at the Broad analyze their data easily and efficiently. These researchers are interested in determining the identities and concentrations of a wide variety of metabolites. By comparing the metabolite profiles of healthy and sick individuals, these researchers hope to be able to better understand the root causes of disease.  Powered by JavaScript, Alejandra’s web applet allows researchers to upload two files containing the raw data from two separate metabolomics experiments; the applet then uses a series of Python scripts to process and analyze this data, and returns the results to the researchers. Because of Alejandra’s work, researchers don’t need to know how to code in order to analyze their data, which will substantially speed up the process of analyzing results. “My time at the Broad has opened my eyes to computer science’s unlimited potential,” said Alejandra. “I am more aware of all of the ways in which it can be used to solve problems in other scientific disciplines.”