Visitor of the Week: Anastasia Teterina


Meet Anastasia Teterina of the University of Oregon. The Russian national is a postdoc in Patrick Phillips’ lab which is part of the Institute of Ecology and Evolution. Anastasia attended the Probabilistic Modeling in Genomics meeting (ProbGen) – her first meeting in CSHL – where she gave a talk on the impact of reproduction mode on polymorphism in roundworms entitled “Mode of reproduction drives the distribution of polymorphism across the genome: theory and empirical tests in Caenorhabditis nematodes”.

What are your research interests? What are you working on?
I’m interested in the population genomics of worms (nematodes), namely, how their mating system and recombination landscapes influence the genomic polymorphism patterns. Genotype-phenotype relationships and the ways to explore them is another personal research interest.

How did you decide to make this the focus of your research?
The study of natural variation can help to understand the biology and ecology of organisms and demonstrate how different factors – such as genomic organization, population demographics, and other aspects of population structure – change genetic diversity; an important theoretical problem that has various practical implementations.

How did your scientific journey begin?
When I was 5 years old, my grandfather, a nuclear physicist, told me that every tiny cell has information that encodes everything necessary to build an organism and maintain all its functions. Since then, I've been trying to understand how it works.

Was there something specific about Probabilistic Modeling in Genomics meeting that drew you to attend?
The announced meeting topics caught my attention as I am curious about the trends in this area and wanted to know more. The meeting was devoted to modeling methods in genetics and omics and approaches to explore specific parameters and their distributions. In my current project, I intensively apply evolutionary population simulation and a variety of bioinformatics methods, a majority of them implies the use of some models. And, last but not least, I wanted to meet and talk with those who developed the methods I use to discuss their application in specific projects.

What is your key takeaway from the meeting?
To find out the answer to your scientific problem, ask more questions, be curious and ask tricky ones; try different approaches and combine methods; and don’t forget to test with simulation how well you can explain the results.

What did you pick up or learn from the meeting that you plan to apply to your work?
At ProbGen, there were many talks on model development, genetic parameter estimation techniques, a lot of benchmarking of old/new approaches, very promising announcements of new algorithms, (of course) a ton of interesting research with detailed descriptions of the methods, and inspiring talks on the current state and future direction of the field. I’m going to recommend some of the algorithms to my labmates and apply several new-to-me methods on my datasets.

Additionally, the day before the ProbGen meeting, there was an amazing satellite meeting on population simulations, PopSim, during which we discussed the current issues in population genetics and ways to approach them.

If someone curious in attending a future iteration of this meeting asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
ProbGen is an excellent opportunity to meet with colleagues, discuss your project, and learn new methods.

What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
It was my first visit to the CSHL, and I really enjoyed the autumn colors and amazing nature. One morning, a few colleagues and I went to the Inner Harbor to watch the birds. Also, I liked the amusing sculptures scattered around the campus.

Thank you to Anastasia 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.