Research Project Title:
Pluripotency and Spatial Organization in Embryonic Stem Cells
abstract:Each of the approximately 200 cell types in the human body shares the same DNA but expresses a different set of genes. The specific genes expressed by a cell are determined by a process called cell differentiation, in which physical and chemical signals from a cell’s environment guide the cell through epigenetic transitions. The goal of this SuperUROP project is to use inference methods such as graphical models to learn how geometries and stiffness constraints imposed by surrounding tissues during cell differentiation affect chromosome organization and gene expression. Establishing a map between chromosome organization and gene expression is key to further understanding cell differentiation and other processes, including the genomic processes underlying diseases such as cancer.
“I'm participating in SuperUROP to explore an area that interests me: statistical inference applied in the expanding area of computational biology. This SuperUROP project will give me the opportunity to apply inference methods I learned in Introduction to Inference (6.008), which has been one of my favorite classes so far. I also believe that participating in SuperUROP will allow me to become a better researcher and programmer in general.”