Somya Mani is a theoretical biologist. In her work to date, she has studied evolutionary transitions in genetic, cellular and multicellular systems. She received her PhD from NCBS in India, where she studied the evolution of the eukaryotic cell through mathematical modeling. She moved to do a postdoc at the Institute for Basic Science in South Korea where she explored many subjects in evolutionary biology: This is where she began to build her research on developmental evolution, and also produced the first modeling framework for the study of de novo gene birth. In general, her work involves building mathematical models to capture evolution of biological systems using tools from physics and mathematics, particularly statistics and graph theory.
Her research at KLI will be focused on developmental evolution: Her approach is to combine insights from single cell transcriptomics data analysis with theoretical modeling in order to understand selective forces that shape developmental programs, and at a local level, shape cellular decisions to migrate, die or differentiate into other cell types.