Members of the Hamilton community might know the Broad Institute as the lab that runs the College’s weekly COVID-19 tests, but beyond facilitating testing, the Broad conducts biomedical research in affiliation with MIT and Harvard. As part of Project Achilles, Demaree will create a database for cancer dependency maps. By using a gene editing tool, she’ll be able to see how gene deletion, which is a type of mutation involving the loss of genetic material, “forms tumors or stops tumors” and then track the results. The database will then be sent to the Broad’s cancer team for interpretation.
When she was a first-year student, Demaree did not know what she wanted to study so instead of focusing on a single discipline, she took advantage of Hamilton’s open curriculum. “I just took as many different classes as I could and ended up finding my bio classes really interesting,” she said. “So, I kept taking bio classes until I realized that I wanted to be a biology major.”
Demaree also conducted research with Assistant Professor of Biology Rhea Datta for the past two years, which solidified her interest in working at a lab. “Working with Professor Datta gave me independence in my research and made me [believe] I could pursue [lab work] full time.”
Demaree believes that the skills Datta has taught her will be helpful in her new role. “Although I don’t have a lot of hands-on experience doing what I will be doing next year, a lot of what I have done with [Professor Datta] in the past, and the independence she has given me is going to translate really nicely into this job.”
Ellie Demaree ’22
Hometown: Arlington, Mass.
High School: Arlington High School
When it came to landing the job at the Broad, Demaree utilized connections from Hamilton’s alumni network and her hometown of Arlington, Mass. “I reached out to someone I went to high school with who now works at the Broad and learned about the position from them,” she said. Demaree then networked with a Hamilton alumnus who happens to be the supervisor of her former classmate. “So, it ended up being really interconnected,” she added.
Following her graduation, Demaree is eager to build relationships with graduates from other colleges at the Broad. She said the organization offers many seminars and activities for newly hired recent graduates. “I’m really excited to meet a big group of people who are interested in the same things as me and on the same trajectory, too.”