Shawn Hallett

This past summer I became a successful applicant to the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center Internship Challenge. I was given the opportunity to perform research at Constellation Pharmaceuticals, a mid-sized company based in Cambridge.

I worked on several projects during my 11 weeks at the company. One of my main projects
consisted of determining the dosage efficacy of compounds that inhibit proteins involved in
breast cancer proliferation pathways. I was interested in seeing synergistic effects between our
target molecule and its effect on the PI3K-AKT pathway in breast cancer. I looked at protein
expression levels in certain modified-histone sites that are known to induce tumor growth in
mouse xenograft tumor lysates and lymphoma cell lines. I also looked at BRCA1 protein
expression levels in cells treated with several inhibitory drugs.

This experience allowed me to gain several useful biochemical techniques as well as learn more
about science that I was previously unaware of. I was able to improve my cell culture techniques,
perform protein estimation, practice qPCR assays, learn the AlphaLISA assay and effectively
manage my time accordingly. I also attended weekly journal clubs, departmental meetings,
cancer research conferences, worked with a team of distinguished scientists, read primary
literature and produced and presented a final research assignment.

I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is interested in fully immersing
themselves in a competitive and educational experience like the MLSC Internship Challenge can
provide.