From the Blog

Looking up in the sun-filled atrium associated with Brain and Cognitive Sciences elaborate, MIT senior Kerrie Greene smiles. “i enjoy this building,” she claims in regards to the place that homes the laboratory in which she initially became enthusiastic about the inner functions for the mental faculties.

Greene juggles numerous roles on campus as well as in her private life — vice-president of her dorm, neuroscientist, bioengineer, volleyball player, older sibling — and she doesn’t intend to decelerate any time in the future. Together with her medical school programs total, Greene is interviewing at potential programs. She states she enjoys being included and dealing hard, however it featuresn’t precisely been effortless.

“I’m simply pleased to have made it to senior 12 months,” Greene claims with a laugh. “And I’m extremely excited money for hard times.”

Finding course

Raised in Atlanta, Greene came on university summer time before her first 12 months, being a participant in Interphase EDGE, a program administered through the MIT workplace of Minority Education that enables pupils to acclimate and transition alive at MIT.

“I’m really fortunate to have done Interphase,” Greene says. “Starting out my freshman 12 months, I became very confident when it comes to located in Boston and currently having a good buddy group. Students from the system continue to be some of my best friends.”

Greene states one of the woman goals in arriving at MIT was to learn medicine design, a subject that incorporates the woman interests in both medicine and manufacturing. For Greene, medication design provides a opportunity to raise the efficiency and availability of brand new drugs, and finally optimize their influence and reach. She discovered the best initially major in bioengineering.

Then, like a sophomore, Greene read a description of the personal cognition research led by Rebecca Saxe, a professor of cognitive neuroscience, and started in the Saxe laboratory through Undergraduate Research solutions plan (UROP). Greene was immediately hooked.

“The more involved I happened to be when you look at the lab, the greater I wanted to know about the mind,” Greene explains. “I knew I’d to simply take classes in mind and cognitive sciences.”

Influenced by Saxe’s study, she included mind and intellectual sciences as 2nd major the woman junior 12 months. For Greene, the intense coursework is outweighed by the woman passion both for areas. “It’s been great,” she says. “I’ve actually liked getting to know students both in schools. Whichever course I’m in is the significant i prefer even more.”

Baby mind development

Greene’s operate in the Saxe lab explores a place with several unknowns: infant and very early childhood cognition, mastering, and brain development. Using the services of postdoc Lindsey Powell, Greene is learning how 7- and 8-month-old children assess and answer replica.

Into the observation room in which she conducts these studies, Greene describes how the group creates a monitor to record babies’ responses while they sit on their moms and dads’ laps and watch various stimuli and animations. One cartoon, including, depicts a “nonimitative” social conversation (one individual executes a motion therefore the other performs a new gesture) and shows an “imitative” social discussion (anyone executes a motion and the other individual performs the same motion). Greene along with her collaborators watch the recording to see or watch the infants’ responses, including just how long different animated graphics hold their attention. The team after that compares these findings to brain dimensions they just take making use of infrared spectroscopy.

“Infrared spectroscopy utilizes the same variety of light you’ll see inside a pulse oximeter,” Greene explains. “We place this small limit around the baby’s visit measure blood-oxygen level modifications, which we could correlate to brain activity.”

Greene says the group aims to develop a enjoyable and welcoming environment the people associated with their scientific studies. “My favorite part of working in the laboratory is meeting the households and children,” she states. “It’s definitely fantastic, and I feel like I’ve grown so much as scientist through the laboratory.”

Advancing cancer therapies

Beyond the Saxe lab, Greene spent yesteryear two summers conducting bioengineering analysis during the Mayo Clinic — “a life-changing knowledge, truly,” she states.

She caused Maryam Raeeszadeh-Sarmazdeh, a senior study other, into the laboratory of Evette Radisky, a teacher of disease biology. Radisky’s group reveals methods of target natural communications between enzymes and inhibitors which were associated with cancer tumors. Greene’s work centered on a small grouping of enzymes known as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). Responsible for wearing down proteins, these enzymes may market the growth and development of cancer tumors. Since past MMP inhibitors were inadequate and lacked selectivity, Greene caused a team trying to produce medicines that especially inhibit MMPs’ tumor-driving task.

“There are natural inhibitors for this proteinase called muscle inhibitors of metalloproteinases, or TIMPs,” she claims. “We had the ability to engineer TIMPs to bind by having a higher affinity and specificity.”

Greene as well as the team during the Mayo Clinic will quickly publish a report highlighting their outcomes and progress in these attempts. Greene in addition assisted provide their particular work this past September in the Bioengineering and Translational drug meeting in Boston.

Creating community on university

Outside the laboratory, Greene could be the vice president and treasurer of her dormitory, McCormick Hall. The sole all-women residence hallway on university, McCormick has-been Greene’s house through all many years at MIT.

“I’ve produced great group of friends there,” claims Greene. “In addition love being able to go back to my dormitory, have my own room, and clear my head — plus it’s clean!” Greene laughs.

Greene also discovered community on MIT’s volleyball staff during the woman very first and second years. “There aren’t many other sports in which you have actually this kind of large concentration of individuals in this tiny square — 30 by 30 feet,” she says. “Communication is super secret also it’s simply simple method release a energy and have now enjoyable. It In Fact Was A great element of my MIT experience.”

With two majors and graduate school applications looming, Greene decided to consider the woman educational responsibilities inside her junior and senior years. She consistently join the club staff occasionally to ease anxiety, and makes time and energy to play volleyball with that special someone to the girl whenever she visits residence: her more youthful cousin, Kalissa.

“She’s 15 and she’s really every thing in my experience,” Greene says, her face illuminating at reference to the woman sis. “She’s killing it at school, she’s killing it in activities; she’s already taking her AP computer research classes. I think she would flourish at destination like MIT.”

Searching forward

In addition to close connections with her family, Greene states she’s got vital help from her faculty advisors and mentors at MIT, especially Rebecca Saxe; Doug Lauffenburger, a professor of bioengineering; and Emery Brown, a teacher of health engineering and computational neuroscience. Greene claims she’s in addition grateful to possess pals whom placed on medical school and that can connect with the difficulties it gift suggestions.

Nevertheless passionate about both bioengineering and neuroscience, she notes that her exact focus in graduate college may be shaped because of the system she chooses.

“I’ve already been working very difficult for the previous three-years, happening four,” Greene states. “I’m only excited to carry on spending so much time. I Have to begin my after that part.”