Brooke Charter High School
Boston, 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. Stephanie, along with her partner Soleei, analyzed the data from these screens, determining that underexpression of at least one of these genes may prompt a patient to have a greater response to immunotherapy cancer treatment. When asked about BSSP, Stephanie said: “I applied to BSSP to prepare myself for scientific research in college; I needed to start training my mind to think like a scientist, so BSSP was the perfect opportunity to initiate this goal.” Her project definitely trained her to think more like a scientist! Her favorite part of being a Broadie was modeling the results of clinical data using computational biology. Stephanie said "she now gained a considerable amount of respect and value for the field and its contributions to biomedical research."