Although lupus, cancer and multiple sclerosis seem like very different diseases, all three have links to altered function of the immune system. Whitney’s work is focused on learning what those immune alterations are.
As part of an ongoing collaborative project at the Broad Institute to characterize the phenotypic properties of the lymphoblastic cell lines (LCLs, which are derived from immune system B cells) used to generate DNA for the International HapMap project, Whitney and her Broad colleagues characterized the surface expression of 15 different molecules on LCLs created from 270 anonymous donors from around the world.
The goal is to correlate the expression of each of these molecular markers with the polymorphisms seen in the human genome, and to perform clustering analyses to define immunological profiles that can help identity specific LCL classes that could contribute to immune function-related diseases.
PROJECT: Quality Control Analysis of HAPMAP Lymphoblastic Cell Line Surface Protein Expression
Each summer that I have spent at the Broad, I have been amazed at the level of innovation, collaboration and progress that is both encouraged and frequently recognized by its many scientists. More importantly, my experiences as a summer intern intrigue me because I have come to understand and be excited by the potential that genomics research has to greatly advance healthcare and promote personalized medicine and the wealth of opportunities that are available for me in the future to help realize this potential.