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Welcoming Somya Mani to the KLI

Somya Mani is a theoretical biologist, and has studied evolutionary transitions in genetic, cellular and multicellular systems. She received her PhD from the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore, India, where she studied the evolution of the eukaryotic cell through mathematical modeling. During her postdoctoral research at the Institute for Basic Science in South Korea, 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.

At the KLI, her project titled, “Investigating the Origins of Directionality in Multicellular Development” 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.

This project aims to deliver a new perspective for developmental evolution, and forges a connection between research on cell fate restriction during development with questions around the origins and evolution of multicellularity.

Here’s wishing Somya a happy and productive time at the KLI!