Arlington High School
Arlington, MA

Thomas Abeel
Genome Sequencing and Analysis Program

Joe has enjoyed math and science throughout his schooling thanks to several extremely passionate teachers. He describes himself as an experiential learner who enjoys tinkering and doing experiments, which even led him to build his own computer. Joe was conflicted between his interests in both medicine and technology until he attended a lecture featuring a computational biologist. He realized the field was a perfect combination of his two interests and wanted real world experience in applying his skill and passion for both disciplines.

Joe worked in the Broad’s genome sequencing and analysis program to compile the whole-genome sequencing data for over 1,300 worldwide strains of Myocobacterium tuberculosisand related species, along with various metadata like drug resistance and location of isolation. With this compilation of data, he performed various analyses including building a phylogenetic tree and looking for lineage-related marker single nucleotide polymorphisms. 

One highlight of Joe’s summer was constantly being surrounded by different scientific discussions and ideas. “Between the conversations happening around me all the time, and the many whiteboards filled with brainstorming thoughts, it’s a really inspiring environment to be in,” said Joe.