Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical Vocational School
Taunton, MA

Jason Lim
Metabolism Program

Pooled genetic screens allow scientists to test hundreds to thousands of genetic perturbations (such as gene knockout with CRISPR) in cells simultaneously, and are a powerful approach for understanding gene function. These screens can vary in the number of perturbations that can be tested simultaneously and in the amount of cellular information they provide, but current approaches usually require scientists to choose either scale or information content, sacrificing the other. Recently, Broad scientists have developed a new method - pooled Cell Painting - for executing pooled genetic screens that uses advanced cell imaging and computational analysis techniques to enable tens of thousand of unique perturbations to be tested in tens of millions of cells simultaneously, while still providing an incredibly detailed picture of how each perturbation changes cell biology. As part of BSSP, Josh and his partner Emily took on a project in the Neal lab to improve the signal-to-noise ratio of in situ sequencing—a key step in the pooled Cell Painting process. His efforts have laid the foundation for an optimized pooled Cell Painting protocol that will improve future screening efforts. Josh has been interested in science for as long as he can remember. “I don’t think (science) excludes or restricts people’s imagination; it is forever expanding what people think is possible,” Josh notes. During BSSP, he learned how important it is to be in a non-restrictive environment to perform cutting edge research, stating that “everyone encouraged everyone to try new things!”