This story first appeared in the Georgia Tech Bioinformatics News Center.
The Bioinformatics Interdisciplinary Graduate Program is proud to announce Devika Singh as our winner for the inaugural “Mark Borodovsky Prize in the College of Sciences” for the Top Bioinformatics PhD student, 2021. The Borodovsky Prize is intended to recognize outstanding academic merit at Georgia Tech.
Devika works with professor Soojin Yi, in the Comparative Genomics and Epigenomics Lab at Georgia Tech. Devika completed both her bachelor’s (Biology) degree and her master’s (Bioinformatics) degrees at Georgia Tech. She worked for one year at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before returning to Georgia Tech to pursue her doctoral studies in 2017.
Devika’s doctoral work integrates large “-omics” datasets to study broad questions around the organization and evolution of non-coding regulatory regions, particularly enhancers, in the human genome. This work includes investigating the underlying architecture of enhancer-gene regulatory networks utilizing multi-tissue, whole-genome chromatin state maps (Results published in MBE). Indicative of the breadth of research in the Yi lab, Devika also worked on projects which analyzed DNA methylation signatures in non-human primates and non-model organisms. In collaboration with researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the Australia Museum, she generated and explored the first tissue- and sex-inclusive, whole-genome “DNA methylome atlas” for the modern koala.
So far in her studies, Devika has published eight papers, including five first-author papers. In addition, Devika gave a poster presentation at a CDC conference in 2017. She also received a travel award to present her work at the Allied Genetics Conference earlier this year. Although the meeting was canceled at the last minute due to the pandemic, the fact that Devika was granted a travel award and invited for a presentation speaks for the strength of her work.
Yi notes, “Devika and I have several projects in the pipeline, and I expect she will have at least two additional papers as the lead author from her PhD studies. She is one of the best students I have worked with during my 16 years as a faculty member at Georgia Tech.”
The Borodovsky Prize nominations were reviewed by an interdisciplinary committee of faculty members, including Joe Lachance (College of Sciences), Peng Qiu (College of Engineering), and Xiuwei Zhang (College of Computing). According to the committee, “Devika Singh exhibited an impressive ability to both analyze complex bioinformatics datasets and frame her research within a larger biological context. Despite the pandemic, she was able to publish three high-profile first author papers in 2021. Topics covered in these papers ranged from the evolution of regulatory DNA in humans to epigenetics in koalas.”
Congratulations to Devika!