Boston Latin School
Cell Circuits Program
Vaccines play an important role in public health. Recently, significant research attention has been given to vaccines containing adjuvants, or additives that make the vaccine work better at generating an immune response. Lina investigated the immunological response of mice treated with vaccines containing a variety of different adjuvants. Using information about which proteins are present on specific types of immune cells versus other types of immune cells, she used a technique called flow cytometry in order to count how many immune cells of each type were present inside the lymph nodes of vaccinated mice. Lina found that certain adjuvants caused the fraction of immune cells that were B cells to increase within the first 24 hours; the effect was more pronounced for some adjuvants over others. Lina’s work will substantially aid in the development of new adjuvant-containing vaccines for a variety of medical applications.
Lina’s previous experience with science in school had given her an interest in medicine: “I hoped that I would either be the one in the lab researching the reasons behind medical problems, or in the hospital directly treating patients.” She applied to BSSP in order to get a better handle on how genomics data is used to help address problems in medicine. Lina was most surprised by the people: “Broadies are definitely not your typical scientists!” Her summer at the Broad has influenced her to look into MD-PhD programs after college to combine her interests in clinical medicine and bench research.