Andrew Lee's Omiclogic Journey - High School Student's Expedition in Bioinformatics

My involvement with OmicsLogic started in 2020. I took three courses - OMICS Bioinformatics, Bioinformatics for Precision Medicine Course, and the Science Coach Genomic Informatics Course. These courses opened my eyes to the true potential applications of data science. I was amazed by the efficiency of bioinformatics tools and was motivated to work on my independent research project. I spent great effort accumulating knowledge through the sub courses at Pine BioTech and OmicsLogic. I explored many of the pipelines offered, expanding my skills in data science through the RNA-seq pipelines, unsupervised machine _Machine Learning for drug discovery.021-1learning, hierarchical clustering, and epigenetics. After reading an article in Scientific American about how autism was misdiagnosed, I was interested in how gene expression and brain spatio-temporal patterns could differentiate three neurological disorders. I used softwares, including ToppGene and the Broad Institute GSEA in order to run my datasets. I scoured the databases for datasets for each of the three disorders, including autism specific databases such as the SPARK database and NCBI. I was able to isolate pathway divergences in Rett Syndrome and brain regions of high expression. I participated in various science competitions with this project, “Isolating genetic divergences between autism, Rett Syndrome, and Intellectual Disability.”

Given my limitations to proceed to the next step of my project, I contacted Elia Brodsky, CEO, Pine Biotech in April 2021. During our zoom meeting, we discussed ways of expanding the project using different types of data, including epigenetic and alternatives to RNA-seq analysis. His feedback was really helpful. After our discussion, I signed up for the OmicsLogic Research Fellowship.

 

In the OmicsLogic Research Fellowship, I worked diligently to advance my research, meeting with Dr. Harpreet Kaur from India over Zoom. I am very appreciative of the mentorship from Dr. Kaur and value her bioinformatics expertise. With the mentorship I received from the Shen Lab I conducted the RNA-seq analysis, which led me to isolate more specific genetic markers. 

I submitted my project to the OmicsLogic Bioinformatics Research Symposium 2021, which included many experts and participants from all over the world. It was an honor to be awarded 3rd place for my poster presentation and to be invited to give an oral presentation (they played my recording since I was in school at that time). My project was on creating a computer program to visualize single cell RNA-seq data for the identification of potential autism candidate genes. I applied what I previously learned to this project.

I am very passionate and motivated about my research project. I strive to always take the initiative to improve my research through delving into the vast realm of data science, collaborating with experts in the field, contacting other researchers, creating opportunities to build on my research, seeking mentor-ship, and reading journals. I have read numerous journals learning about the current advances in the field and have explored many types of bioinformatics. I strive to make an impact on our society through this research and future projects, such as earlier and more accurate diagnosis of autism that may lead to better outcomes with earlier interventions.