Excel Academy Charter High School
East Boston, MA

Monica Arniella
Cancer Program

Immunotherapy is a promising new treatment for cancer; however, predictors of response to this treatment are still imperfectly understood. Juliana looked at a published melanoma dataset containing information about the gene expression of patients both before and after anti-PD-1 treatment.  Working closely with her partner Maggie, and using Python packages such as pandas and scikit-learn, Juliana tested for a statistically-significant relationship between progression-free survival (PFS) and pre-treatment gene expression using Spearman's rank correlation. After dimensionality reduction with principal component analysis, a PFS-related signature was not found, suggesting the need for further controls when working with this clinical annotation of response.  When asked whether or not BSSP influenced her career goals, Juliana replied that it most definitely did!  “I was already looking into science and computer science majors,” Juliana stated, “but this program has definitely brought up my interest in computational biology, which seems to be a good mix between the two major categories I was already interested in!”