Copyright: Hubrecht Institute; Picture credit: Thijs Rooimans
Currently, I am a member of Dr. Hans Clevers' research group at the Hubrecht Institute in Utrecht (The Netherlands) as a postdoctoral researcher funded by the Schmidt Science Fellowship in collaboration with the Rhodes Trust (UK). My work in his lab is focused on developing new adult stem cell models and genome engineering tools to understand the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition of metastatic cancer cells in colorectal adenocarcinomas.
I recently received my Ph.D. in Developmental Biology in Dr. Marianne Bronner’s research group at the California Institute of Technology. My Ph.D. work took a systems-level approach to address the long-standing question of what confers an embryonic stem cell population, the cardiac neural crest, with its unique ability to form cardiovascular derivatives. I uncovered the gene regulatory circuitry that controls the acquisition of cardiac neural crest identity and used it to reprogram other neural crest populations to a cardiac-crest-like fate. I developed new tools for chick developmental biology to enable these discoveries, including methods for genome engineering, retroviral lineage tracing, and single-cell transcriptomics.
Prior to Caltech, I received a master’s degree in Systems Biology and Bioinformatics at New York University, with Dr. Lionel Christiaen at the Center for Developmental Genetics. I adapted CRISPR-Cas9 loss-of-function methods to the marine invertebrate Ciona intestinalis, and identified molecular mechanisms that govern a fate-switch between head and heart muscles from bipotent precursors. I also devised a machine-learning-based approach to identify and predict the efficiency of all possible guide RNAs targeting the Ciona genome, a database that is publicly available on the UCSC genome browser.
Ph.D., California Institute of Technology
Major: Developmental Biology
Thesis Advisor - Dr. Marianne Bronner
M.S., New York University
Major: Systems Biology and Bioinformatics
Thesis Advisor - Dr. Lionel Christiaen
B.E., Panjab University