Christina B Azodi

I develop bioinformatic and machine learning tools to help answer questions about how genetic variation influences traits. Currently I am a postdoctoral researcher at St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia in Dr. Davis McCarthy’s lab. Here I am developing software and workflows to study how genetic variation influences changes in gene expression (i.e. expression quantitative trait locus mapping) at the single-cell level. I am putting these tools to use to improve our understanding of the genetic basis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a severe form of lung disease.

I completed my Ph.D. in Plant Biology in 2019 at Michigan State University in Dr. Shin-Han Shiu’s Lab. My dissertation focused on two areas: genomic prediciton and gene regulation. Genomic prediction is about using genetic information to predict traits that a farmer might care about, like flowering time or plant height. I worked on benchmarking statistical and machine learning algorithms for genomic prediction and applied these methods to study flowering time in maize. My interest in gene regulation started with wanting to understand how plants respond to environmental stresses at the molecular level. To do this, I used machine learning approaches to model the cis-regulatory code of the transcriptional response to combined heat and drought stress in A. thaliana.

I earned my B.A. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry with a minor in Environmental Studies from Middlebury College, Middlebury VT in 2012. As an undergraduate student, I gained wet lab experience working in a microbiology, an algal biology, and even a fisheries genetics lab. After graduating I spent two years at the Boyce Thompson Institute working on tissue culture and RNAi in Setaria viridis.