Brookline High School
RNA transcripts contain open reading frames (ORFs) that produce proteins. Recently, translated unannotated ORFs have been discovered. Proteins from these unannotated ORFs have shown to be important in both health and disease. Yuen Ting found these ORFs by performing Ribosome Profiling (Ribo-seq), a molecular biology technique that takes a snapshot of all RNA being translated at a given moment. Previous Ribo-seq experiments used the translation inhibitor cycloheximide (CHX); Yuen Ting also used Lactimidomycin (LTM), which traps the ribosome at the start codon. She successfully implemented her protocol on a sample library and developed new algorithms that demultiplex samples based on barcodes. Then, using both the CHX and LTM data, she found ORFs that would have been difficult to accurately predict using CHX data alone. Further modifications to Yuen Ting’s method will improve the quality of Ribo-seq data.
Yuen Ting really enjoyed her work this summer: “My favorite part was the rich scientific atmosphere present at the Broad. Everyone I met was passionate about biology, and it was interesting to attend meetings and hear about the latest interesting research going on at the Broad.” About labwork, Yuen Ting added: “It was a great experience getting to try out scientific techniques that I had previously only heard about in textbooks. My experience at the Broad has helped confirm my interest in science, and I'm now planning to pursue a major in biology.”