Aurora j. Alvarez-Buylla
MIT EECS — Angle Undergraduate Research and Innovation Scholar
Understanding the Evolutionary Markers of Type II Diabetes in African, Mexican, and Eastern European Populations in the US
The goal of this project is to analyze which single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the human genome lead to a greater propensity for Type II diabetes and related diseases across different populations. We have chosen populations characterized by migratory patterns, different cultural heritages, and a notable changes between ancient diets and current diets. We will be using data from the 1000 Genome project and writing scripts to efficiently manipulate the large data sets and do statistical analyses. We hope to find evidence of positive selection in the identified SNPs, which would support the theory that phenotypes that in our current day are disease-causing may have been beneficial in ancient populations.
I’m interested in understanding the genetic factors that lead to a propensity for disease. The intersection of biology and computer science is immensely exciting, and I hope that by using the computer science mindset I have learned in my classes, I can help unlock some of the secrets of our DNA.