Jacqueline Yang

Jacqueline (Jackie) Yang is from Los Altos Hills, CA and graduated from The Harker School in San Jose. At Columbia, she is studying Electrical Engineering.

Jackie began conducting bioinformatics research at Stanford Medical School in her sophomore year under Professor Purvesh Khatri, studying RNAseq data from large human autopsy datasets in order to identify potential biomarkers for a group of juvenile autoimmune diseases. This research was inspired by the discovery of Troponin, a heart-specific biomarker used to detect cardiac muscle damage which transformed the survival rate of heart attacks in the 1960s. Through a genome-wide analysis of RNAseq data from the GTEx database, Jackie was able to successfully identify several differentially expressed genes, including Troponin and PLIP, two known biomarkers which helped confirm the validity and potential of her method. She then extended her findings to establish the link between elevated surfactant concentration in serum and enhanced susceptibility for pulmonary alveolar proteinosis, a fatal complication with a 75% mortality rate in sJIA patients. In her junior year, Jackie returned to the Khatri Lab through the Stanford Institutes of Medicine Summer Research Program (SIMR) as a Doris Duke Grant Award recipient, continuing her study of proteomics and bioinformatics. Because autoimmune disorders often require many expensive, inconclusive tests, the diagnostic potential of her research helped her realize the power of computational biology as well as her interest in medicine.

At Harker, Jackie was also heavily involved with the Technology Student Association’s Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAMS) program, where she recruited and led a team of eight students, beginning in her freshman year. The team met to solve applied math and engineering programs, focusing on the impacts of science on humanity and the world. Jackie’s team qualified for the national convention three times, in 2017, 2018, and 2019. Through a series of tests and an on-site design/engineering challenge, her team was able to win first place in the Best in Nation, Problem Solving, and Digital Media categories.

Jackie spends most of her free time playing cello, and has won a variety of local and international competitions in the last few years. She has performed at Carnegie Hall numerous times, including at a Summer Gala Concert at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium in June 2019. In addition, Jackie has been involved with numerous youth, outreach, and school orchestra programs, where she has served several roles, including Associate Principal and Principal cellist. Jackie also enjoys chamber music, and formed a cello choir at her school, which was given the opportunity to play in masterclass for the Miró Quartet. She studied chamber music at the California Music Preparatory Academy, where she played in a string trio, cello quintet, and string quartet.

Besides her endeavors in science and music, Jackie also evaluates for the Future Problem Solving Program of California. Jackie is a National Merit Finalist, National AP Scholar, and lover of cats.