Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2023
Home Department: Computer Science
Faculty Advisors: Anshul Kundaje (Genetics) and Kristy Red-Horse (Biology)

Research Title: Characterizing the Species-Specific Genetic Basis of Cardiac Development with Deep Learning Models of Regulatory Function

Research Description: Guinea pigs are evolutionarily adapted to a high-altitude environment, possessing unique traits that confer cardiac tissue resilience. To better understand the developmental basis of these adaptations, Austin is developing novel deep learning methods to link genetic information to regulatory function by predicting chromatin accessibility from genomic sequence with high accuracy across multiple species. Using single-cell multimodal expression and chromatin accessibility samples from mouse and guinea pig, Austin is applying these deep learning models to quantify genomic differences between mice and guinea pigs in a functionally aware manner. This project aims to identify genomic features relevant to species-specific cardiac traits, and to link these differences to the genetic basis of human cardiac function.