Visitor of the Week: Yvanka de Soysa


Meet Yvanka de Soysa of the University of California, San Francisco. Yvanka, a Sri Lankan national and graduate student in Deepak Srivastava's lab at the J. David Gladstone Institutes, is on campus for the 2017 Single Cell Analyses meeting where she presented a poster titled "Single Cell Transcriptome Analysis of Early Cardiogenesis and its Perturbation Upon Hand2 Loss".

What are your research interests? What are you working on?
I am interested in the molecular mechanisms of embryonic heart development with my main question being: What are the important genes and cell types that form the embryonic heart, and how does incorrect activity/behavior of these genes/cell types lead to babies being born with heart defects? 

Was there something specific about the Single Cell Analyses meeting that drew you to attend?
Being that I am new to computational biology and have only been working with single cell transcriptome data for less than a year, this meeting presented a great opportunity to learn more about single cell analysis and technical methods. Also, my abstract was chosen for a poster presentation and I was eager to share and discuss my work in the poster session to get feedback from the experts in this field. The response I received and and the conversations around my poster from the other meeting attendees were very encouraging and exciting.

What is your key takeaway from the Meeting?
I am really excited by the diversity of methods for probing molecular features of single cells. I am primarily working with single cell transcriptomics, and this meeting has taught me a lot about the different types single cell proteomics and epigenomics methods as well as single cell imaging modalities. 

How many CSHL meetings have you attended and any plans to participate in a future CSHL meeting or course?
This is my very first meeting at CSHL, and I am interested in applying to attend the course on Chromatin, Epigenetics and Gene Expression.

If someone curious in attending a future iteration of Single Cell Analyses meeting asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
I would definitely recommend that they attend the next Single Cell Analyses meeting and make sure to spend time at the bar at the end of each day because my most insightful and valuable scientific discussions came from chatting and brainstorming with other attendees over drinks. 

What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
During the breaks between sessions, I've been taking short walks to explore the campus. It is truly a beautiful space and the views across the water from the campus are breathtaking. I am also a huge fan of the Waltz of the Polypeptides piece that is on campus. 

Thank you to Yvanka for being this week's featured visitor. To meet other featured scientists - and discover the wide range of science that takes part in a CSHL meeting or course - go here