High School Student Interns in the Bioinformatics Core Section

Drs. Robert Kitchen and Mark Gerstein, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry

“One of the major challenges facing researchers who study the human genome is how to make vast amounts of data available to the scientific community to accelerate new discoveries.  Often when data are collected, the scientists in charge of the experiment will focus on a very small facet of the overall results (for example on only a few genes) that is relevant to their own particular interests or expertise.  However, often these data are extremely useful beyond the scope of the original study and the goal of our project is to design a mechanism by which these data can be effectively disseminated to other scientists across the diverse field of neuroscience and human genomics.

Using state of the art database, virtualisation, and visualisation technologies (including MongoDB, Docker, and D3.js) high-school students Michael Laraia (left) and Abhishek Gorti (right) have taken the first steps towards creating an intuitive and efficient web-resource that enables a researcher to obtain a highly informative snapshot of the activity of any of the ~60,000 genes in the genome. Through the website these students created (brain.gersteinlab.org) one can view the activity of a gene across the organs of the human body, through the full timecourse of human brain development, and even in specific sub-types of neurons.  Over the coming months we hope to continue to add data to this resource and for it to become a useful first step for scientists to learn valuable new information about genes that they may have found to be of interest in their own experiments.”