Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School
Methuen, MA

Haley Curtis
Center for the Development of Therapeutics

Everianny’s love for science started in high school. “My classes pushed me to want to learn more about the world, how it works and awoke a burning passion to seek knowledge and use it in the most creative and helpful way possible.” Her newly found passion led her to seek opportunities that would allow her to become a member of the scientific community. “I decided to apply to BSSP as a way to explore the world of research.” As part of BSSP, Everianny worked in a group that studies novel druggable targets to increase the efficiency of cancer therapies. In order to promote their uncontrollable growth, survival and proliferations, cancer cells have developed different ways to hijack cellular pathways to avoid being cleared by the immune system. Some types of cancer hijack the interferon pathway, which when activated, sometimes leads to programmed cell death (apoptosis). Cancer cells hijack this pathway by overexpressing a protein called ADAR1, which acts to prevent apoptosis. Previous work found that inhibiting ADAR1 in mice helps reduce the size of tumors that had become unresponsive to cancer treatment. Thus, ADAR1 constitutes an attractive drug target for cancer therapies. Everianny, with her partner Annamaria, worked in a group that is interested in performing screens to find small molecule inhibitors of ADAR1 in lung cancer cells called A549 cells. To do this, Everianny needed to confirm that A549 cells relied on the interferon pathway to undergo apoptosis. She set out to test this by generating cells depleted of different components of the interferon pathway and seeing how they would respond to pathway activation using high content imaging. Her data suggests A549 cells do have an active interferon pathway and can be used to identify a small molecule inhibitor of ADAR1. Through her work, Everianny will increase the efficiency of cancer therapies at clearing the tumor, thus helping millions of individuals affected by this disease. Everianny’s favorite part about being a Broadie is interacting with other members of the community. “Everyone at the Broad has so much wisdom to share and the goodwill to share it, making the Broad environment incredibly nurturing.”