Sneha Berry

I work under the mentorship of Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D.; Janis Taube, M.D., M.Sc.; and Alex Szalay, Ph.D.; at the exciting interface of cancer immunology, pathology and data science. The team’s long-term goal is to create carefully curated, open source atlases of different tumors stained for multiple proteins, thus spatially mapping immune activity within the tumor microenvironment. Similar to The Cancer Genome Atlas and Protein Data Bank, we hope that making large data sets along with specialized data analysis tools publicly available will spur discoveries at an unprecedented level in cancer immunotherapy. My thesis work has formed the foundation of this effort. Specifically, I developed an end-to-end platform with meticulous quality control for creating quantitative, spatially resolved multiplex immunofluorescence data using lessons derived from the field of astronomy. Implementation of this platform led to the identification of two previously under-recognized immunoactive cell subsets that are now important biomarker candidates for defining survival after anti-PD-1 therapy in patients with melanoma.

Questions & Answers

Why did you choose Johns Hopkins for your work?

I chose to attend Johns Hopkins because it provides access to great mentors and innovative technologies. The work environment is inspiring and fosters transdisciplinary collaboration.

What does receiving this award mean to you personally and professionally? Do you have any connection with the particular award you received?

It feels great to have your research efforts recognized by your school and I am grateful for the honor.

What contributed to your project’s success?

A number of people were involved in making this project a success. The knowledge and guidance of experts in several different disciplines was invaluable. I was also lucky to work in a lab where my co-workers were supportive, talented and extremely helpful.

What thoughts do you have about Young Investigators’ Day itself, as a celebration of the roles students and fellows play in research at Johns Hopkins?

Young Investigators’ Day provides a wonderful opportunity for students to proudly present their research and at the same time learn about outstanding work being performed at other labs across Johns Hopkins.

What has been your best/most memorable experience while at Johns Hopkins?

I would say I have had many memorable experiences, including graduating from my master’s program, the coating ceremony for graduate students, and multiple dinners with fellow graduate students and lab members.

What are your plans over the next year or so?

I am looking forward to my graduation this May and am planning to transition to a career in industry.

Tell us something interesting about yourself.

I have not lived in the same country for more than eight consecutive years. I was born in India, spent much of my adolescence in London, moved back to India again for my bachelor’s degree and then found myself here. I enjoy painting, cooking and trying out new restaurants.