Anastasia Baryshnikova, Molecular Genetics
Student’s Name: Anastasia Baryshnikova
Supervisor’s Name: Charlie Boone, PhD
Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair in Molecular Medicine
Canada Research Chair in Proteomics, Bioinformatics and Functional Genomics
Gary Bader, PhD Professor
“Mapping genetic interaction networks in yeast”
During her PhD, Anastasia studied the structure of genetic interaction networks in yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genetic interactions occur when a cell carrying two or more genetic mutations grows faster or slower than expected from the contributions of the individual single mutations. Genetic interactions uncover complex functional connections between genes and may ultimately underlie the relationship between the genotype and the phenotype of all living organisms. In the Boone laboratory, genetic interactions are studied systematically by measuring the growth of all possible single and double mutants in yeast S. cerevisiae. As a PhD student in the Boone lab, Anastasia played a key role in building the computational framework for collecting, processing and interpreting this unprecedented volume of data. She developed a set of core algorithms for extracting accurate measurements of genetic interactions from large-scale experiments and studied the properties of the resulting genetic interaction network. She found that genetic interactions organize genes into large modules, corresponding to broad biological processes, and can potentially outline the blueprint of the global functional organization of the yeast cell. These and other discoveries were published in several scientific articles and opened numerous areas of research in yeast and other organisms.
Anastasia’s PhD work was supported in part by two University of Toronto Open Fellowships, the Jennifer Dorrington Award, as well as several travel fellowships and conference recognitions. Anastasia was nominated by the University of Toronto as one of the top 5% of doctoral students in Canada in 2012. Her PhD thesis received the Donnelly Centre Thesis Prize and the Barbara Vivash Award in Molecular Genetics.
After obtaining her PhD in 2012, Anastasia moved to Princeton University as a Lewis-Sigler Fellow at the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. The fellowship is awarded to early career scientists with exceptional promise and enables them to establish independent research groups with interdisciplinary focus. As a fellow, Anastasia extended her work on quantitative genetic networks and large-scale phenotypic surveys in model organisms. Currently, Anastasia is a Scientist and Principal Investigator at Calico Life Sciences, an Alphabet company that seeks to understand human aging and extend healthy lifespan. She studies age-associated phenotypes in yeast and other organisms to identify the molecular mechanisms of longevity.