High School Scientista Spotlight
By Leena Shah '16
My interview with Grace Ganzel, a Huron High School senior who holds a winning entry to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
1. Tell me about yourself!
I am a senior at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I have a big interest in computational biology and genetics, and I love music and synchronized swimming. I play the flute and piccolo in the Symphony Band and Orchestra at my high school, and I swim on our synchronized swimming team.
2. Tell me about your project.
I tried to determine which chromosome could predict an individual’s response to certain toxins only by using computer programs. I used the programs to run statistical tests which would find individuals that were most similar to each other on a genetic level. By seeing which individuals with known reaction levels were most similar to individuals with unknown reaction levels, I predicted the unknown values. By comparing my predictions to the correct answers, I was able to see that chromosome 20 did the best at predicting reaction levels.
3. Where did/do you carry out your research for your entry?
I carried out my research in two main places: in the comfort of my bedroom on my laptop, and in the office of mentor, Dr. Inhan Lee. With her help, I was able to use just the power of a computer to run tests on data, organize, and predict new data. It’s incredible how useful computers can be in scientific research.
4. What motivated you to become involved in science research?
During my sophomore year of high school, I met someone that took part in an organization called miRcore every Saturday, and he invited me to come along with him. At first I didn’t understand anything that was going on in our two hour meetings, however, everything was so interesting. I would go home after each session and try and learn more about genomics on my own. Two years later, I have learned more than I thought I could ever know about genetics and personalized medicine, and now Dr. Lee helps me apply my knowledge to relevant research.
5. What aspects of researching for your project do you most enjoy?
The thing I most enjoyed about researching for my project was getting an answer to my question. The cool thing about science is that you actually have the chance to do that, and that is the main reason why I want to be a scientist.
6. Do you have any advice for fellow high school students?
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! This was the first time I participated in the science fair (not including my elementary school project on dogs), and I was completely freaked out. All I had to do to be successful was believe in myself, and not give up.
4/14/2014 0 Comments
Congratulations to Brooke McKnight, an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, for winning the First Place Award at the 2014 Scientista Symposium.
Brooke was awarded First Place at the inaugural Scientista Symposium on April 5, 2014, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for her abstract entitled, "Pancreas Specific SEC23B Deficiency Results in Pancreatic Degeneration in the Mouse.” Brooke has been working on this project for the past year at the Ginsburg Lab in the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute with her mentors David Ginsburg, Rami Khoriaty, and Lesley Everett. The project focuses on characterizing SEC23B, which is a core component of COPII (coat protein complex II) coated vesicles, which transport proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the Golgi apparatus. Mice ubiquitously deficient in SEC23B die perinatally with massive pancreatic degeneration, and as per Brooke, "We hypothesized that this was caused by pancreatic digestive enzymes becoming retained in the ER. We haven’t resolved what is going on yet, but we are continuing to do experiments in hopes of determining the role of SEC23B in secretion."
Currently in her senior undergraduate year at the University of Michigan, Brooke will graduate this May 2014 with a Bachelor's of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology. At the University of Michigan, Brooke is the school outreach coordinator of FEMMES (Females Excelling More in Math, Engineering and Science), a student group that aims to encourage girls to learn and explore their potential in STEM (science, technology, math and engineering). Brooke also serves as a Study Group Facilitator for Introductory Biochemistry (MCDB 310) through the Science Learning Center (SLC), an interdisciplinary resource center sponsored by the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts to support teaching and learning in the natural sciences at the University of Michigan. Next year, Brooke will begin the journey towards a PhD at Wayne State University in its cancer biology graduate program. Brooke would like to eventually attain her MBA and join industry, but currently she is just looking forward to exploring all the possible routes her degree can take her!
Congratulations on your amazing accomplishments Brooke and we look forward to following your journey in STEM!
Come study with your fellow Scientistas for any class, work on essays, homework, etc. this Friday (or Saturday) night in the U-M Undergraduate Shapiro Library! If everyone chips in a few bucks each, we can order pizza!
Please RSVP to Academic Support Chair Gunseli Onder (firstname.lastname@example.org). In your RSVP, please include:
Please RSVP ASAP to Academic Support Chair Gunseli Onder (email@example.com) so we can complete the room reservations!
WELCOME, UMICH SCIENTISTAS!
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