Brookline High School
Brookline, MA

Jamie Marshall, Sahar Ashrafzadeh, and Danielle Sookiasian
Medical and Population Genetics

Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) is a heritable disease that leads to extreme weakness in the voluntary muscles, specifically those of the arms and legs. To date, there are limited high throughput methods to screen therapies targeting this debilitating disease on human muscle cells. Leon helped with the development of a high throughput protocol for automated imaging and immunofluorescence analysis of muscle cells from LGMD patients. By profiling LGMD cell morphology, Leon hoped to identify phenotypes unique to LGMD tissues. The automation of this screening platform would enable the discovery of therapies to reverse the symptoms of muscular dystrophy in patient cell lines.  

“My favorite part of working at the Broad was the ability to connect with a plethora of motivated and driven individuals. These individuals, including my own mentors, other people working in the lab, and the other students in the program, gave me an innovative and exceptional community in which to work in. I felt as though my work mattered, and this meant a lot to me,” said Leon. This summer influenced his desire to pursue biology in college and beyond. In just six short weeks, his work illuminated the potential for him to make real contributions to the world of science, and he hopes to fulfill that potential in the future.