Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
Cambridge, MA

Sean Misek
Cancer Program

Antonio’s interest in science started off in school, when he realized science allows us to understand the world around us. While trying to figure out if he could see a future as a professional in science, he decided to join BSSP. “I had never experienced what it was like to be an actual scientist and work in a lab environment where you are contributing to research; the Broad seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to do just that!” As part of BSSP, Antonio worked with his partner Kira trying to develop tools to study pediatric low-grade glioma (pLGG), a type of brain cancer. Cancer is characterized by hijacking different pathways involved in regulating cellular growth, such as the MAPK pathway. pLGGs often hijack the MAPK pathway by mutating a gene called BRAF. These mutations cause BRAF to always be active, leading to constitutive activation of the MAPK pathway. Interestingly, many patients with pLGG differ in the growth dynamics the tumor displays. To understand the molecular mechanisms that enable these different tumor growth rates, Antonio sought out to test different degron-based BRAF expression systems to use as a model to study BRAF in pLGG. Degron systems allow scientists to control the protein levels of a desired protein by addition of a small molecule, that when added, leads to the degradation of the protein fused to the degron tag. Through his work, Antonio showed that the different degron systems can be expressed in human neural stem cells. Additionally, he showed these fusions were functional and able to be degraded. Even though Antonio is keeping his options wide open for college, he mentions that after this experience, pursuing a biology major is his number one choice. When asked about his favorite part about being a Broadie, Antonio says it was the supportive environment. He mentions: “the Broad is an amazing workplace that helps you become a productive member of the scientific community!”