Visitor of the Week: Rahul Pisupati


Meet Rahul Pisupati of the Gregor Mendel Institute of the Austrian Academy of Science (Austria). The PhD student in Magnus Nordborg’s lab made the voyage to participate at his first-ever CSHL meeting: The Biology of Genomes. And his inaugural voyage also involved a poster presentation. His poster (entitled “Elucidating causes of methylation variation in Arabidopsis thaliana”) received “many constructive comments” and Rahul is already considering his return to the Lab.

What are your research interests? What are you working on?
I am a computational biologist by training and my research interests are at the intersection of quantitative genetics, population genomics and epigenetics. Currently, I am working on population epigenetics in Arabidopsis thaliana, trying to understand various sources shaping methylation variation in natural populations.

How did you decide to make this the focus of your research?
Since college, I have always been eager to learn new theories in evolutionary biology. It is really fascinating how principles in population genetics can be extrapolated to understand any group dynamics (even social groups). To some level I wanted to work on some of the exciting questions in the field.

How did your scientific journey begin?
It started during my masters when I went to Dr. Nolan Kane lab at Boulder, Colorado for a summer research position. We had very engaging journal club discussions on classical papers in evolutionary biology.

Was there something specific about The Biology of Genomes meeting that drew you to attend?
Attending this meeting is a great opportunity to share and get feedback from brilliant minds. Also, it is one of the biggest meetings with a focus on population genomics and current technological advances in the field.

What is your key takeaway from the meeting?
All the talks are excellent, aiming at recent advances in the field. It is very hard to hone in on one takeaway message, but there were many informative talks bridging the gap between genotype and phenotype and single-cell genomics.

What did you pick up or learn from the meeting that you’d like to apply to your work?
Yes, I had many constructive comments on the poster I presented. Also, it feels great to meet people whose papers you were reading.

If someone curious in attending the 2020 iteration of this meeting asked you for feedback or advice on it, what would you tell him/her?
I would definitely recommend they attend this meeting. Submit an abstract for the opportunity to present your work and get the attention of editors of every big journal you know of.

What do you like most about your time at CSHL?
CSHL is an amazing campus promoting social life along with scientific advances, and provides one to easily retreat into nature. The events were well-organized and each received a huge level of participation.

Thank you to Rahul 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.