Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
One characteristic of cancer cells is a high mutation rate due to defects of DNA repair mechanisms. Tumors exist as a heterogeneous population of cells arising from different mutations. Therefore, tumors may contain populations of cells that are resistant to single drug therapy treatments. Combination therapy holds great promise for treatment of tumors by targeting more than one population of cells. To determine the most effective combination therapy to treat triple-negative breast cancer, Jeff was instrumental in setting up a large-scale screen to test if genetic perturbations of known drug targets sensitized cancer cells to existing therapies. Pilot studies indicated that CRISPR knockouts versus knockdowns were a more effective mode of genetic perturbation. Additionally, CRISPR-mediated perturbation of key cell cycle regulators in combination with a known drug, gemcitabine, severely limited cell viability, indicating the efficacy of this combination therapy.
Jeff decided to apply to BSSP because he felt it would be a good opportunity to get hands-on experience with lab work and exposure to a new scientific field. "From my time at the Broad I've realized that I enjoy working in the wet lab. In the future, I think I may want to work in the lab professionally, and I've recently started considering majoring or minoring in biology or math," said Jeff.