Paul Travers

I decided to declare Biochemistry & Molecular Biology as my primary major during my second semester of my freshman year, and it has been an amazing journey since then. Also as a freshman, I was fortunate enough to be accepted into Dr. Li-Jun Ma’s laboratory, where I was introduced to the world of scientific research. Since then, I have spent both the summer of 2014 and the summer of 2015 working in Dr. Ma’s lab. This summer [2015], I also collaborated on a project with Dr. Yiping Shen’s lab, which is a human genetics research lab at Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard University. Working closely with Dr. Cheng Zhang, a post-doc student in Dr. Shen’s lab, I tested a group of copy number variation (CNV) detection softwares, in an attempt to determine the best method for accurately calling CNVs from human genetic information, with a long-term goal of correlating CNVs in specific locations within the genome to genetically linked diseases such as obesity. Also this summer, I was given the opportunity to attend the annual American Phytopathological Society Conference with the Ma Lab, which was held in Pasadena, California. At the conference, I presented my research on transposable elements and their correlation to virulence, pathogenicity, and host specificity of the Fusarium oxysporum species complex. In addition, myself and the rest of the Ma lab presented a workshop in which we taught principal investigators, post-docs, and graduate students how to create, prep, and execute RNA-sequencing projects using powerful cluster-based programs. As I continue with my life, I know that the skills I have picked up and the experiences I have had as both a Biochemistry student as well as a researcher will stay with me and benefit me for life.