Scituate High School
Cancer arises from a series of successive mutations; each mutation alters the cell in such a way that it can replicate unchecked. In many cases, these aberrant cells metastasize, seeding new tumors throughout the body. Because mutations are the primary drivers of tumor progression, it is imperative that we have a deeper understanding of the tumor’s genetic landscape.
Emma examined the pattern of mutations and chromosomal rearrangements in two tumor types, breast carcinoma and Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG). Her work on breast carcinoma validated the existence of chromosomal rearrangements predicted by Snowman, a bioinformatics program developed at the Broad. In the case of DIPG, the project was more exploratory. Emma identified mutations and rearrangements in tumor genes and linked these genetic transformations to altered protein function. Both of Emma’s projects will advance our knowledge of genetic abnormalities in malignant tumors.
Emma’s favorite part about the Broad was the culture. “Not only are you constantly surrounded by people from all walks of life with all different specialties, but everyone is so down to earth and passionate,” said Emma. Although she still doesn’t know what specific scientific field she’d like to study in college, this summer confirmed for her that she’s headed down the right path. “I can’t imagine a life where I never get to pipette again, and I’d like to thank the Broad for allowing me to reaffirm where my passions and interests lie.”