HOMETOWN: Los Altos Hills, California
UNDERGRADUATE INSTITUTION: MIT
WHAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST IN YOUR CURRENT FIELD/WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
Taking Forest White’s class, 20.320 Analysis of Biomolecular and Cellular Systems, as an undergraduate that exposed us to techniques to make predictive models of biological systems sparked my interest. Understanding the binary patterns of protein activation in cells reminded me of computer programming, where a series of on/off signals control output. I became fascinated by trying to decode the “programs” that control cells and understanding how the processing could go wrong to
PERSONAL RESEARCH SUMMARY:
My research focuses on developing more sensitive methods for measuring cellular changes in response to external cues. Cells encode environmental information in patterns of protein modifications called phosphorylation. These phosphorylation levels across many proteins change over time to elicit behavioral responses in the cell. Currently, measurement techniques have been able to simultaneously track phosphorylation changes on hundreds of proteins over the time scale of minutes. However, improved temporal resolution of measurement is key to quantifying biological mechanisms in the system. To address this problem, we have developed a novel technology that enables measurement of the protein network with 10-second resolution. This data has revealed unexpected mechanisms controlling the cellular decision-making process, which will be able to aid design strategies for future therapies.
PERSONAL INTERESTS: I play golf in my spare time, and enjoy exploring Cambridge and Boston with my goldendoodle, Oakley.