Prospect Hill Academy Charter School
Cambridge, MA

Josephine Bagnall, Vivian Hecht, Kevin Dong, and Noam Shoresh
Epigenomics Program

“I never pictured myself having a career in science until I started taking computer science classes,” said Syalomee. “Coding felt more like solving one big puzzle than working.” Syalomee got to continue learning how to code this summer, when she computationally analyzed multidrug resistant (MDR) bacteria in the epigenomics group at the Broad. Multi-drug resistant bacteria pose an imminent risk for human global health. The exact nature of how current antibiotics affect cellular processes like transcription in different strains of bacteria is still being explored. Syalomee analyzed transcriptional data collected using RNAseq in order to determine how the gene expression levels of a multitude of different bacterial genes change upon bacterial exposure to gentamicin and ciprofloxacin. By performing a statistical analysis in R, Syalomee identified a handful of genes whose transcription was significantly affected upon antibiotic treatment. Her work will allow researchers to piece together how these drugs affect bacteria on a transcriptional level, and generate new hypotheses about drug effects that may ultimately enable the rational design or the identification of mechanisms of action of new drugs.

”Looking back on the past six weeks, I really enjoyed learning R and working on my computational project,” concluded Syalomee. “I will definitely pursue additional opportunities in science in the future.”