First Name

Daniela

Last Name

P.

Bio

Dani has earned the coveted NCWIT Regional and National Runner-up awards four years in a row. Dani’s love for computer science and its applications in biology have fueled her achievements in the field of Bioinformatics. It started with COSMOS, as the only rising freshman, where she used MatLab and Osiris X to model exponential and logistic tumor growth and decay. She was delighted to present her research at the SET (Science Engineering & Technology) Awards with her NCWIT peers. Dani was then selected as a Johns Hopkins University Center Scholar, where she gained interest in the computational and IT aspects of Genomics. She was introduced to HapMap (an international consortium that uses IT to explore DNA sequence variations) and was drawn to the emphasis on data analysis and computer technologies. She realized how computer science creates the infrastructure of using the human genome to identify disease. She was inspired to seek out an internship at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, where she used her familiarity with Python, C++, and Objective C and learned Perl to conduct her research. She created a code to read mutated protein sequence data and produce 3D structural models of discrepancies, which have many implications for detecting diseases like cancer and HIV. All throughout, she managed to stay active in her school’s very successful FIRST Robotics team where she served as secretary and media director (creating outreach videos), won countless awards, and participated in numerous competitions, including a World Championship. In addition, Dani was able to add to her >150hrs of community service in STEM outreach through science fairs, tutoring, SWE (Society of Women Engineers: STEP-Up) Service Through Engineering program, and EWH (Engineering World Health), where she soldered circuit boards to assemble surgical testing units for 3rd world operating rooms. As a rising Senior, she was hired to use her compilation of skills at the McKusick-Nathans Institute of Genetic Medicine, where she discovered a unique trend in computer generated biomarker analysis and was invited to present her research among PhDs and leaders in the field from all over the world at the ISCB (International Society of Computational Biology) Conference in Aspen, CO. She was the only high school student in the history of the event to be invited and her poster won recognition. This summer, she'll be working hard at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine where she will conduct independent research in bioinformatics and further explore the global impact it has on society. Dani realizes that there is far more to research than the project itself. Communication and collaboration are just as essential as the computer tools she hopes to master and develop. She looks forward to a future in computer science working in the field of Bioinformatics and is deeply honored to have been a part of the NCWIT family for the past 4yrs. As a dual Varsity athlete, Dani will continue her golf obsession and enjoy surfing during her remaining few moments of leisure. She has been granted early admission to Cornell University and will continue to pursue a PhD and entrepreneurial career in Bioinformatics.