Roxbury Latin School
Cancer Program | Getz Lab
Ammar’s primary motivation for applying to BSSP was “to be part of a diverse, passion-driven, and curious community.” He got a chance to do just that by joining the Getz Lab, a team of talented and mission-driven individuals. Ammar worked in the Getz Lab which aims to understand the genetic diversity of cancer genomes. Specifically, the genetic drivers contributing to breast cancer resistance. Almost 70% of all breast cancer diagnoses are of the HR+/HER2- subtype and KMT2C mutations are observed in 8% of all breast cancer patients. KMT2C is a methyltransferase found in healthy human cells and works to unwind DNA, allowing these segments of DNA to be expressed. The absence of KMT2C in breast cancer cells is implicated in greater resistance to drug treatments, so understanding the role KMT2C plays could inform further cancer treatments. Jessica, alongside her partner Ammar, worked to optimize an immunofluorescence staining protocol that could reliably measure the expression of KMT2C in HR+/HER2- breast cancer cells. By the end of the summer, Jessica and Ammar validated their immunofluorescence staining protocol by analyzing qualitatively the expression of KMT2C in wild-type and its absence in knockout cell lines. Their work lends itself to further studying the impact of KMT2C in HR+/HER2- breast cancer cells. Throughout the summer, Ammar proved himself to be a natural leader, and we watched him build the community he craved amongst his cohort and Broadies alike.