Westford Academy
Westford, MA

Sarah Bening
Infectious Disease and Microbiome Program

With more bacteria developing resistance to current antibiotics, it is important to study and understand the exact function of antibiotics in order to more effectively treat bacterial infections.  Studying the effect of depleting the targets of many antibiotics is not possible by simply knocking them out in E. coli because many are essential genes.  Instead, these essential genes can be knocked down to study their effects on the cells when depleted. Using molecular biology techniques, Max developed a tool using an inducible CRISPR-mediated knockdown system that can target any gene of interest and knock down its protein levels by inhibiting gene expression.  By swapping out the guide RNA to target the gene of interest, this tool provides a quick and inexpensive way to knockdown any gene of interest, allowing a wide range of research on antibiotic function to be conducted.

Max's favorite part of working at the Broad was being part of exciting cutting-edge research. He felt the atmosphere was extremely encouraging. "This summer has allowed me to experience what it is like to be a researcher in biology, and know that I definitely want to continue to do research in college. I do not know what STEM major I want, but I definitely know that I want to continue to study science and conduct research," said Max.