Science Project Blog
Upper School students publish their progress several times weekly.
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I wanted to put this here for recordkeeping, debriefing and future planning purposes before I dive again into the end-of-junior-year workload. Thank you so much for your help with scheduling and makeup work and all your help this year as my mentor, journal-accesser and patient proofreader and listener. Thank you!!
Intel ISEF 2014 was probably my happiest, not because I won awards (although earning the recognition of esteemed scientists is a true honor!!) but because I was able to connect with so many old and new friends and discover the huge potential of interdisciplinary scientific collaboration. THAT is what I remind myself of every year as I walk out of the convention center and think about on the plane. I have a feeling these peers will stay with me for years to come.
And Nikhil! Phenomenal! I cheered until I got a sore throat :)
Now, for me, I'm listing the following purely for recordkeeping - I don't want to come across as self-absorbed, so please realize that (!!!). I was honored to receive
- 4th Place Grand Award in Physics & Astronomy
- 3rd Place Internationally & 1st Place Nationally, SPIE International Society for Optics & Photonics
- Certificate of Honorable Mention (Top 6 Nationally), American Association of Physics Teachers & the American Physical Society
- New American University Provost Scholarship to Arizona State University (Awarded to 22 Nationally)
What this really means is that many judges thought I was worthy of recognition. That is the highest award. Thank you for your support all these years, without which I honestly could not have dreamed of getting to the level I am at now.
I look forward to a summer of hard work and reconnecting as a 2014 Research Science Institute Scholar at MIT. I will be sure to keep you updated all summer, because I've forecasted for Science Research next year. Truly, deeply excited!!
Thanks so so so much, Veronica. I wore a Catlin Gabel sweatshirt to the international pin exchange and a selfie that New Yorkers took with me showed up on the big stage of the opening ceremony, so CATLIN GABEL! :)
Thanks again Veronica. So many thanks. Talk to you tomorrow.
Apologizes for the lack of blog posts recently - as you know, I have been swamped with concerts, performances etc.
An update - the National JSHS is next week. I have edited my PowerPoint slides per your recommendations - thank you - and plan to fully cut my speech down to 12 minutes by this weekend.
Friday's Intel Northwest Science Expo was fun, engaging, and rewarding. Thank you Veronica for preparing our class so well!
The conclusion of this science fair is just the beginning, and I look forward to much more research and experimentation.
My project involves data that is real and meaningful, but hard to get. When I perform an experiment and wait for results, I cannot control the outcome, and most of the time, I don't get the results I want. It takes repetition, troubleshooting, and discussion to figure out solutions to a problem. In my research, I did find a potential new target for cancer treatment by identifying a driver of a particular cancer. But as I said before, this is just the beginning--the key that opens many more doors. There are many directions I can follow, much more evidence to obtain, and I plan to pursue those paths to follow up my findings.
My research here is by no means "complete." I will continue to investigate and work on this fascinating and thought-provoking project. I believe that it is important to conduct more experiments and build upon this study, because findings and discoveries for the future of targeted cancer therapy can tremendously benefit society.
My next presentation of "Novel Targets for Personalized Medicine: Identifying Oncogenic Drivers of Cancer" is May 6. I have been invited to present at Oregon Health and Science University's Research Week, May 5-9, 2014. The poster session is from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. I am thrilled for this enrichment opportunity to share my research. I'm also eager to see the graduate students and faculty's research projects and talk to them about the research they are doing in different subjects as well as observe how they conduct their projects.
If you are interested, please go to https://www.conftool.pro/research-week-2014/sessions.php
- 4G10 (mouse)
- Total TrkA/TrkB pan (rabbit)
- pMEK (rabbit)
- cyclin D1 (mouse)
- TrkA/TrkB at specific tyrosine residue (rabbit)
- TrkA/TrkB at another tyrosine residue (rabbit)
- pMEK (rabbit)
- pAKT (rabbit)
Some updates from the last two weeks!
Ordered and arrived, NTRK1/NTRK2 sampler kit
-Cells were cultured in serum-free media and lysed using cell lysis buffer
-Bradford assay: protein assay comparing sample concentrations to a standard curve with known concentrations of BSA protein
Today's western did not turn out so well--there was some kind of misconnection between the current and the gel box or a general problem, but the two gels ran really slowly and ended up being warped.
I plan to redo the western tomorrow.
-Transfect samples (NTRK1 WT + mut, NTRK2 WT + mut)
-Wait 48 hours (I transfected today, the cells will be ready to lyse on Thursday)
-Western blot (probe with phospho tyrosine antibodies)
Yesterday, I started on my next steps to further investigate the unexpected behavior of the NTRK1 wild type and continue my research.
First, I prepared the plasmid sample and sequencing primers to do a full DNA sequence of the NTRK1 WT construct. The sequence should come back tomorrow.
Also, yesterday I had the opportunity to listen to a talk given by Dr. Kimberly Stegmaier from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her talk was great and she described her lab's work on studying small molecule targets for cancer therapy as well as their work in looking at cell differentiation and transcription factors--the small things and details that happen in the nucleus.
She shared findings from her lab about acute myeloid leukemia (AML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and neuroblastoma. In the AML and ALL research, the lab primarily focuses on pediatric patients. By profession, she is a pediatric oncologist, and that makes her work even more special.
In addition, their lab looks at known hits and tries to find out more about them. For example, in neuroblastoma, a particular gene called MYCN has been well known to be overexpressed and amplified in neuroblastoma tumors. Instead of looking for other targets, they examined closely how MYCN interacts with other proteins.
They also use a mouse model in their lab, and study different chemical compounds that may inhibit certain gene expression or activity of oncogenes. Additionally, her research has passed on to significant clinical trials.
Many survival rates in both children and adults can be better, and that is what makes the research I am doing, the research Dr. Stegmaier is doing, and the research other labs are doing so meaningful.
I was inspired by her great depth of knowledge across all cancers and thoughtful answers to the questions asked at the end of her presentation.
Debriefing Gresham-Barlow. Preparing for the Intel NWSE & ISEF.
- Poster design was inefficient. Next time, I have resolved to just use rulers and tape instead of the fancy metal screws I bought from Home Depot. (Read that on the internet) I'm not as worried about efficiency in poster setup for the state fair because I will go the night before to setup, but the screws also forced me to bore the holes, which were imprecise. Thus, rulers and tape, rulers and tape, all the way.
- The judges checked off everything on the comment sheet, so at this point I am just looking to fine-tune my oral presentation. No concerns about the content of my project. The written criticism was to eliminate the bibliography from my poster. I already printed my poster, so I'm caught between redesigning to address this concern and paying another $100 to print my poster, or just leaving my references on there at the state fair and ISEF. What do you think?
- I need to revise my research paper. As I was talking to the judges, I noticed that I could improve my JAVA program by incorporating an automated design process, e.g. instead of identifying each solar panel design manually (as I did before), I am now thinking about coding a secondary and refined process that will pick those designs and write some algorithms that will enable the highest-efficiency designs to be automatically reported to the user instead of manually identified. Does that make sense?
Again, thanks so much. I really, really do appreciate it.
I spent the weekend writing my speech and editing my JSHS PowerPoint presentation to my satisfaction! (For your viewing ease, my speech for each slide is in the notes in PowerPoint. There are some animations and GIFs that won't play unless you enter slide show mode, though. Either way, you'll see the whole collaboration during my presentation practice!)
I would love to hear your feedback, if possible!
Thanks so much! :)
Yes. I was so desperate for a clever blog title that I turned to Disney. ("Let It Go")
I am looking forward to practicing my presentation this coming week. I have completed and polished about 80% of my talk for the JSHS, which I will modify and condense for Gresham-Barlow.
I ordered my poster papers. I have two boards at home from years ago, so I think I will use them in constructing my poster.
Thanks for reading! More coming soon.
- Thank you for reviewing my JSHS slides with me today. I'll continue to edit up to March 9th.
- We discussed my oral presentation for all forums. I plan to write it this weekend and practice next week.
- Thank you for sending me Stephanie's comments regarding my paperwork. I would really appreciate it if you could forward me her response (if and whenever) to your response with my 2013 abstract, if only so I can rest in ease / be nervous about SRS approval beforehand. :)
IT'S SO DARN CLOSE
WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS
Right now, my paper is approaching it's penultimate form. I need to create a graph to show the differences (along with actually inserting all of my graphs into my paper), and then I can focus solely on my presentation, footnotes, and refining refining refining!!! I will go into more depth in class tomorrow (as I am dead tired because of a combination of extracirricular factors), and I can answer more fully Veronica's questions. But, anyways, here!