Hometown: Boston, MA
Vivian joined the LPM in February of 2009 as a high school intern from the Boston Latin School. The following is an explanation of Vivian's LPM experience in her own words:
What was your project about?
I worked with Rimma and Deirdre on breast cancer risk assessment of different ethnic populations. As current breast cancer risk prediction algorithms are generally based on entirely on the white female population, or don't include a comprehensive list of risk factors, I worked to gather statistics and general information on different risk factors.
What did you learn from your experience?
I learned more about working to improve on methods that are currently available. There are already algorithms that are being used to predict women's risk of breast cancer, but as they generally target specific populations or include a limited number of risk factors, we're working to create a new algorithm that will be more accurate for a greater number of people. I learned that you don't have to start completely over for every project that you do; more often than not, when you choose to do a project, it's usually to improve on something that already exists.
What are your career interests?
I'm not exactly sure of what I want to do as an adult, but I know that I'm definitely interested in the sciences. I'm interested in the way the human body works and reacts to its environments, and for that reason and because I love working with children, I think I would be interested in becoming a pediatrician.
What was your favorite part about working at the LPM lab?
I really liked meeting everyone and learning from each of them about their respective projects. I enjoyed working with them and though this is a different "lab environment" from the one I had pictured before signing up to intern here, this was an enjoyable experience, and I liked learning about and being exposed to a field that I had never really considered before. Bioinformatics, I now realize, plays an important part in scientific advancement and in our society.