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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pathfinders Update: Summer Research

Claire Lessler presenting her research

I interned i​​n a bioinformatics lab, the Michael Berger Lab, under the mentorship of a postdoc. Over the course of the summer, I worked on my own project, which I presented to my lab and to Sloan Kettering Cancer Center researchers at the end of the summer. 

The lab I worked for coordinates a large-scale initiative called MSK-IMPAC, in which cancer patients receive clinical genetic sequencing and are then enrolled in clinical trials targeting their specific genomic alterations. One of the main issues with our method is that it is extremely difficult to analyze its effectiveness; the analysis was done once, manually, in September 2016. I created an algorithm called C-TEAM that can conduct the analysis automatically. I then ran current data through C-TEAM and compared current results to those from September 2016 in order to analyze the improvement of IMPACT over time.

I had an amazing time, and I met tons of new and interesting people. I don't think I could have gotten this experience anywhere else. Thank you for the Pathfinders program for helping achive this opportunity.
~Claire Lessler​, Class of 2018

I have learned so much from my experience this summer at The Albert Nerken School of Engineering at the Cooper Union. We have isolated plasmids and transformed different strains of bacteria to produce beta carotene. We did this using various techniques we learned about in AP Biology. We have done DNA purification, cloning using PCR, and followed countless other protocols with the guidance of our teaching assistants.

From the start of this program we have been learning what conducting an experiment is all about. We have been trained to identify a problem and search for possible solutions. We all had to come up with experimental designs in detail that we can conduct to reach our final goal of creating a cricket that is high in vitamin A. We did background research and dissected crickets twice! I have plated bacteria and grown cultures! I have been able to experience how a lab truly functions. I have had the opportunity to do amazing work all because of the Pathfinders program!
~Barbara Chrem, Class of 2018