Daniel Bear (BU Academy ’06) doesn’t just learn about biology in the classroom; he spends hands-on time in a real lab, where his impressive stem cell research may shed light on the causes of cancer. This past summer, the high school senior spent his days studying mutant zebra fish genes in the oncology lab of pediatrician Leonard Zon at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
Bear says that he and a Harvard graduate student were “trying to characterize a gene found in zebra fish that has an analogous form in humans.” The team’s research on a family of embryonic zebra fish cells and their mutant genes could help explain how leukemia develops in humans.
The Academy student, a resident of Wellesley, MA, has a broad range of interests. He plays jazz bass and has a second-degree black belt in karate. His focus for the past three summers, however, has been in Zon’s lab, where his work has provided the subject matter for his BU Academy senior thesis project.
“I think it’s difficult to have an accurate mental picture of scientific research without seeing it firsthand. . . . Since I’ve had some experience, then, I think I have a better idea of what I’m getting into than some kids might,” he explains. Bear hopes to conduct research in biology at the undergraduate level and beyond.