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Byram Hills Scientist Named Siemens Semifinalist

Alexandra Brocato
Alexandra Brocato Photo Credit: Contributed

ARMONK, N.Y. -- Alexandra Brocato, a Byram Hills senior, has been recognized for her scientific work.

Brocato was named a semifinalist by the National Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology for her extensive, multi-year research project. Brocato is one of only eight high school students in Westchester honored.

Brocato completed her work on Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a hereditary condition that causes spinal nerve cells to die and is a leading genetic cause of infant mortality. Her research focuses on identifying significant symptoms of those afflicted with SMA in order to create a trajectory of the disease. By understanding the progression of SMA, drug therapies can be introduced at an earlier stage allowing doctors to prevent the disease from taking over a child’s body.

The Byram Hills senior worked with Dr. Lee L. Rubin and Dr. Scott Lipnick at the Rubin Laboratory in Harvard University’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology over the summer. She was the only high school student in the Harvard-based lab.

Her work focused on analyzing data from nearly 1,000 patients to determine which symptoms appear early and in what order, and to create a quantitative model to aid therapy and treatment.

“The hope is that early intervention could prolong the quality of life in these children,” Brocato said.

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