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Scholar Profile

Sean Burns '12

About Sean

Avon, CT

University Partner:
Northeastern University

Chemical Engineering

Grant Partner:
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Senior Mentor:

"Steamboat is hands down the most unique experience a student could ask for. I entered the program focused on the internship, but left knowing that this was only a small piece of the puzzle. In ten short weeks, I developed lasting friendships with extraordinarily talented students from across the country and around the world. By the end of the summer, I found myself sharing more meaningful, trusting relationships with my fellow Scholars than with friends I had known for years. The conversations we shared over the Foundation and Leadership Dinners were insightful, challenging, and influential on my life decisions as I approach graduation."

Scholar Background

Raised by a nurse and police officer, Sean's parents nurtured in him a great appreciation for public service from an early age. After being accepted to Northeastern University, he was awarded the full tuition Ralph J. Bunche Merit Scholarship in recognition of his scholarly achievements and commitment to his community. While pursuing a degree in chemical engineering, Sean had the unique opportunity to conduct twelve months of research in a drug discovery lab at Millennium Pharmaceuticals. His love for science grew as he confronted the challenges of creating new drug molecules and keeping pace with the rapid evolution of oncology research. Sean's passion also extends beyond medicine to a variety of personal interests. As a Civic Engagement Program Scholar, Sean enjoyed volunteering at Brigham and Women's Hospital and tutoring local high school students at an urban youth enrichment program. He was thrilled to be part of the first generation of Honors Ambassadors, who meet with prospective students to share their honors experience at Northeastern University. He also loves cooking, snowboarding, attending concerts, and has played guitar since he was six years old.

Internship Description

While working in the Bradner Laboratory, Sean had the opportunity to initiate a new research project focused on investigating the protein EZH2. Researchers have recently found that the mutated form of EZH2 is associated with many types of cancer. By working with molecules that inhibit this protein's function, scientists can remove some of the epigenetic marks that instruct a cancer cell to proliferate. Sean was tasked with validating several potential drugs that target this protein, and by the end of the summer, he had completed the initial data collection for the project using a variety of biological assays. These assays help researchers better understand the action of drug molecules in the human body in preparation for their use in clinical trials. Sean also had the opportunity to shadow a postdoctoral clinical fellow during her time on the bone marrow transplant team and in the Jimmy Fund Clinic. He will continue researching under the direction of Dr. Bradner through December 2012 as part of Northeastern University's Co-op Program.

Where are they now?

Sean has continued to work in Dr. Bradner's lab for his final co-op.

Summer Scholar Program


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