Weston High School
Weston, MA

Poppy Sephton-Clark
Infectious Disease and Microbiome Program

The fungal pathogen Candida auris is a growing global health concern, as it is resistant to many common antifungals; as such, discovering new drugs that can inhibit the growth of this fungus is of monumental importance. Hanna spent the summer training a machine learning model known as a neural network to predict whether different compounds would be effective or ineffective at inhibiting fungal growth. To do this, she supplied the model with experimental data from thousands of compounds, each “tagged” with their effectiveness. Hanna was able to successfully classify compounds as active or inactive using this model, and identified structural similarities between the most active compounds, which she hopes will be able to be used in the future to better inform antifungal drug design. Hanna decided to apply to BSSP because of the unique opportunity to work alongside a mentor on a research project as a high school student. When speaking about her experience, Hanna said: “My favorite part of being a Broadie is definitely the people I've met and the opportunities that I've been exposed to just by being around scientists. Everyone is so passionate about sharing their work, and willing to help each other out; I’ve realized that science is a very collaborative community.”