Meet the BEEAM 2020-21 Cohort!

The BEEAM End of Year Symposium is only a week away! We wanted to take this opportunity to re-introduce you to our esteemed BEEAM scholars and acquaint you with their various interests and research!

Faith Rounds (CRLS Senior)

“I am a high school senior at CRLS who is passionate about electrical engineering and computer science. I am currently a research intern at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and work with two mentors to understand the impact of a substrates’ curvature on cell behavior. Outside of school, I love to build apps, 3D print various objects, run STEM camps and explore mechanical engineering by building drones, smart mirrors and playing with Arduinos. I have a YouTube channel called PZR Labs, where I post coding tutorials and how-to videos on fixing broken technology. I am also the President of the Computer Science Club at my school and I enjoy attending hackathons with my friends and club members. I will be attending Harvard College, Fall 2021, with plans on concentrating in Computer Science and one-day creating my own tech-startup.”

Research Abstract

Collective cell migration takes place in many biological processes, so it is essential to understand this phenomenon. Since many biological systems are intrinsically curved, understanding how cell behavior is impacted by that curvature is necessary. Previous research has proven that cell velocity decreases as the cell density increases, but there is limited information on how curvature impacts cell behavior. The goal of this research is to dive deeper into the impact a substrates’ curvature has on cell velocity and density. As well as analyzing the velocity-density relationship on both flat and negative curvatures. ImageJ is used to track the Madin-Darby Canine Kidney (MDCK) cells, which are plated on Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), along different curvatures. Images of the cells are taken every 15 minutes using a confocal microscope, and the Trackmate plugin is used to track the cells throughout time. After cell monolayers become confluent, only cells plated on the negative and flat curvatures are tracked and compared. Using Matlab, the cells’ density and velocity are plotted, which is used to analyze the velocity-density relationship and generate a conclusion.

Rose Nolan (CRLS Senior)

“My name is Avery Rose Nolan (I go by Rose) and I am a senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School. Next year I plan on attending Brandeis University, and my current plan is to major in computer science and environmental science! I love coding and learning new coding languages, and I especially enjoy video game design. Environmental science is also a huge passion of mine, and I hope to protect the people and ecosystems most effected by climate change in whatever job I do. Outside of STEM I enjoy creating art (especially printmaking), baking, and I am a saber fencer. I also have a small but slowly growing collection of plants!”

Research Abstract

My research project aims to establish computer control over the motor behaviors of the microorganism Euglena gracilis by manipulating the light stimuli in it’s environment. By establishing control over Euglenas’ movements, we can allow the cells to accomplish tasks normally impossible for them. These tasks can include synchronizing the movements of multiple Euglena, creating videogames with living components, and utilizing the Euglena to interact with microscopic environments by creating currents or moving microscopic objects.

Astrid Dalton (CRLS Junior)

“Astrid is a Junior at CRLS. She’s interested in all things STEM, but mainly focuses on biology, engineering, and computer science. Though her main academic focus is biotechnology, she loves history – and any other class in which she gets to write – too. In addition to participating in BEEAM, Astrid is co-president of Biotech club, one of the captains on the Robotics team, and part of Debate club. 
Outside of scholastic activities, Astrid loves to hike. Recently, she’s gotten into cosplaying and is currently designing a steampunk costume.”

Research Abstract

This year, Astrid’s research was centered around PERSIST, a post-transcriptional RNA regulation platform. Over the summer, she worked with Noreen and Katherine, her mentors, to analyze a toggle switch implemented using PERSIST proteins in stochastic modeling software. This fall, she identified an oscillator motif and used simulations in MATLAB to figure out how to implement it in cells. This spring, Astrid continued to work with Noreen to broaden the set of oscillator motifs examined.

Yasmerlin Ortega (GLTS Senior)

“My name is Yasmerlin Ortega, a 18 year old Hispanic that attends Greater Lawrence Technical School. I’m in the study of Steam; in the career of biotechnology. My passion is caring for others and medicine due to this I have decided to major in health pathways at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. During the last year I had the amazing opportunity to be chosen to participate in an internship called BEEAM.”

Research Abstract –

This internship has given me so much knowledge about research and RNA sequence. During the year I have worked virtually with my two mentors Andrew Warren Navia and Sarah Quiin. I have learned about SQL which is a low-cost platform for single cell RNA sequencing designed to be compatible with low input. While researching this protocol and the data given we noticed that the data was low quality so we had to figure out what was causing this problem. 

Additionally, it was due to the beads used in the procedure so throughout the year we had to figure out what was wrong with them and how we could fix the problem. I started learning how to code using  seurat and R studios, in my script we used YOH( ones made in our lab) beads and CG(chem gene) beads. To see what was wrong with the beads we started to compare the data sets and we noticed that the YOH beads had low quality data which was due to the capture rate, meaning that it wasn’t capturing enough RNA so the problem was with the material of the beads.  Finally, knowing this information we just need to change the material the beads are made out of and try to run the beads again to see if our hypothesis was correct. During this year I have also learned how to identify cells and how to write a lab report. 

David Wasserman (CRLS Senior)

“David is a senior at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, going to an undecided college as of this date. He has a strong interest in physics along with electrical and computer engineering. He is currently the captain of the First Robotics team, and additionally plays cello in his spare time. “

Research Abstract

Over the past year, David, under Dr. Kiarash Gordiz, Andrew Rohskopf, and Prof. Asegun Henry, has worked on the sonification of the periodic table, simulating lattices of each element and scaling their velocities to an audible range. For the first half of the year, he completed the periodic table and website to contain the sounds. In the second half of the year, he performed alamode calculations on the simulations that used VASP to derive TITEP interatomic potentials and allow for re-simulation in Lammps.