Olivia Johnson’s Testimonial – SROP 2023

How was your experience with the program?

I had a really great experience with the program. I felt so welcomed by all of the professors and grad students and met some amazing friends. I felt very prepared for beginning research that I didn’t have a lot of background in and learned so much about the field and about research itself during this program.

What was the most exciting thing you learned?

The most exciting things I’ve learned this summer are all of the opportunities for doing research after undergrad. There are so many different, achievable options for the field, and UW Madison sets its students up for success in grad school and beyond.

What was your research project about?

My research project this summer focused on signaling pathway reconstruction algorithms. These algorithms take a protein-protein interaction network and proteins of interest and outputs a subnetwork containing those proteins of interest to predict new signaling pathways. Running many different signaling pathway reconstruction algorithms on one set of data can be difficult and time-consuming. The Signaling Pathway Reconstruction Analysis Streamliner (SPRAS) is a unified workflow for pathway reconstruction to run multiple algorithms with universal input and output. SPRAS has other network algorithm classes but not yet an active modules network, so my goal for the summer was to add DOMINO, an active modules network algorithm, to SPRAS. DOMINO outputs multiple active modules, or subnetworks that show significant over-representation of an accrued activity signal. This project involved Python coding to integrate DOMINO into SPRAS.

How has this program and working with your professor/research team helped you develop as a scientist?  

This program and working with my professor helped me develop as a scientist by introducing me to new aspects of computational biology. Not only did I get comfortable with Python coding and software in my research, but I was also able to attend different biological meetings that discussed biology, genetics, and data science projects from all different labs. I was able to see the process and collaboration of research in academia from many perspectives.