Millburn High School
Millburn, NJ

Naomi Habib and Yinqing Li
Zhang Lab

Allen decided he wanted to pursue a career in science when, in middle school, he was given the chance to see the university lab of a family member who studied lung cancer. “I realized researchers were solving the most mysterious and dynamic diseases of our time,” said Allen.

Allen’s research focused on the implications of long intergenic noncoding RNA (lincRNA) in the hippocampus. These lincRNA play an important regulatory role in gene expression. Allen helped identify cell-type specific lincRNA genes that are potentially important for neuron and glial cell function. The analysis of these genes can help researchers better understand the genetic mechanism underlying normal function of the brain and can shed new insights on major neurological diseases like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and Prader-Willi syndrome.

Allen’s favorite part of the summer was meeting so many scientists, watching their experiments, and hearing their first-hand accounts of the cutting-edge research they do every day. He felt the experience deepened his passion for science.