B.M.C. Durfee High School
Fall River, MA

Thomas Davis, Kira Olander, and Sarah Kim
Cancer Program

Immunotherapy is a promising new category of cancer treatments, where drugs are used to cause the body’s immune system to search out and destroy cancer cells. For unknown reasons, certain patients are extremely resistant to immunotherapy treatments. In order to better understand why, a group of scientists at the Broad had previously performed a CRISPR activation screen—an experiment where CRISPR-Cas9 technology is used to modify genes one at a time, in order to see how changing the expression levels of these genes ultimately affects immunotherapy response in mice. Soleei, along with her partner Stephanie, analyzed the data from these screens, determining that the expression of at least one of these genes may have a significant effect on a patient’s response to immunotherapy cancer treatment. CRISPR therapies have brought up a number of ethical questions, to which Soleei responded: “Being at the Broad has made me discover how much I love working in not only computational biology but getting to know more about ethics in science. It is significant to celebrate our advancements, but at the same time, we must keep in mind the effects that scientific advancement may have on the world around us.”