Natick High School
Natick, MA

Daniel Hitchcock
Metabolomics Platform

The metabolomics platform at the Broad Institute is concerned with determining the identities and concentrations of various small-molecules known as “metabolites” in individuals. The hope is that by comparing the metabolite profiles of healthy and sick individuals, researchers will be able to better understand the root causes of diseases. However, the raw data from these metabolomics experiments is often quite cumbersome to analyze, requiring detailed knowledge of coding in Python—which many researchers do not have. Alongside her partner Alejandra, Melica developed a web applet to allow researchers to process their data with no knowledge of Python. The website’s front-end, powered by Javascript, allows researchers to upload two files containing the raw data from two separate metabolomics experiments; the applet’s back-end then uses a series of Python scripts to process and analyze this data, and returns the results to the researchers. Melica’s work will allow metabolomics researchers to analyze their data more efficiently, ultimately speeding up the research process. Melica's favorite part of being a Broadie was being able to connect with so many intelligent, diverse, and passionate people. "Everyone at the Broad is so supportive and driven and I feel so at ease when it comes to getting to know others and making connections," she said. “This summer has opened my mind to considering software engineering as a potential career path,” Melica said. “I also want to maintain a connection with science and lab work throughout college, because I find the work so incredibly fascinating and amazing!”