Ali is a second year PhD candidate in our group. She completed her degree in Genetics and Cell Biology in DCU in 2016. Ali began her PhD in the Computational and Molecular Evolutionary Biology Group in Leeds in October 2016, after being awarded a Leeds Anniversary Research Scholarship. Ali’s PhD is a collaboration between Dr. Mary O’Connell in the Faculty of Biological Sciences and Dr. Niamh Forde in the Faculty of Medicine and Health – and will span both computational (dry-bench) and molecular (wet-bench) skills. Her project aims to identifying innovation in protein coding and non-coding regulatory elements in the emergence of the mammal placenta. Ali will be using large-scale analyses to study mammal genomes. Once protein-coding and non-coding targets have been identified, Ali will be moving into Dr Niamh Forde’s research lab at the Leeds Institute for Cardiovascular and Molecular Medicine to carry out functional analyses on the wet-bench.
Before joining the group, Ali obtained an internship in the Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases, carrying out a project investigating novel tubulin dynamics under specific transfection conditions. During this internship, Ali gained a large amount of wet lab experience and decided that a life in research was what she wanted to pursue. Though wet-lab work was enjoyable, Ali had always had an interest in computational biology and decided to work in the Infection Genomics group in DCU for her final year thesis, correcting the annotation and furthering the assembly of a tropical parasite Leishmania naiffi. During this project, Ali began to develop her computational biology skills, she discovered potential new genes, studied copy number variation and allocated contigs throughout the genome. Work from Ali’s thesis has been incorporated into the following publication: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/early/2017/12/14/233148