Revere High School
Revere, MA

Jason Lim
Metabolism Program

Pooled genetic screens allow scientists to test hundreds to thousands of genetic perturbations (such as gene knockout with CRISPR) in cells simultaneously, and are a powerful approach for understanding gene function. These screens can vary in the number of perturbations that can be tested simultaneously and in the amount of cellular information they provide, but current approaches usually require scientists to choose either scale or information content, sacrificing the other. Recently, Broad scientists have developed a new method - pooled Cell Painting - for executing pooled genetic screens that uses advanced cell imaging and computational analysis techniques to enable tens of thousand of unique perturbations to be tested in tens of millions of cells simultaneously, while still providing an incredibly detailed picture of how each perturbation changes cell biology. As part of BSSP, Emily and her partner Josh took on a project in the Neal lab to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of in situ sequencing—a key step in the pooled Cell Painting process. Her efforts have laid the foundation for an optimized pooled Cell Painting protocol that will improve future screening efforts. Like a true scientist, Emily enjoys tackling difficult questions. “Freshman year biology was my favorite class despite being the most challenging, it was then that I knew that I love science.” While reflecting on her BSSP experience, Emily mentions “I enjoyed being treated as an equal and an adult in my lab as well as feeling connected to the community of people that this program has allowed me to meet.”