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Abeera Mehmood

Abeera Mehmood
Graduate Student, 2020-2021 David C. Fairchild Endowed Fellow in the Skaggs Graduate School of Chemical and Biological Sciences

Hang & Mendoza Labs, Department of Immunology & Microbiology
BA in Biology from Hiram College, Hiram, OH
Advanced Sequencing Technologies & Bioinformatics Analysis course at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories November 6-19, 2023, Cold Spring Harbor, NY

Supporting Growth for Women in Science | Inaugural Travel Awards Notification

Scripps Research

Abeera Mehmood

Graduate Student, 2022-2023 Jack Satter / Skaggs Graduate Fellow

Conference Description:

The Advanced Sequencing Technologies & Bioinformatics Analysis course offered by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories (CSHL) begins in early November and runs for two weeks. A major focus of the training is exploring the use of massively parallel sequencing technologies and their associated bioinformatics and data-analysis approaches. 

Importantly, in addition to the coursework, the CSHL course offers a roster of guest lecturers that have expertise in various sequencing platforms. The 2022 roster included Dr. Robert Martinsen, an expert in the field of epigenetics, and Michael Zody, an expert in designing bioinformatics software and analyzing genomic datasets. In brief, the CSHL Advanced Sequencing Technologies & Bioinformatics Analysis course offers hands-on experience in generating sequencing data and practical techniques for handling large-scale sequencing datasets.


How will attending this course add to your professional and scientific training? 

Nine years ago, I left my home country of Pakistan to pursue studies in understanding and boosting host defense mechanisms against foreign threats. After completing my undergraduate training in biology at Hiram College, I worked as a research assistant at Ohio State University. During my post-baccalaureate training, I realized my passion for delving into the intricate interplay between immune cells and infectious/malignant cells. This realization led me to embark on my graduate education, with a primary focus on reinvigorating the immune system to effectively recognize and eliminate disease. I am currently a PhD candidate in Immunology at Scripps Research. 

The immune system relies on a complex circuit of immune cells that are in constant crosstalk with non-immune cells and pathogens. Given this complexity, unbiased gene expression analysis technologies, like scRNAseq, are ideal and powerful tools for studying cellular heterogeneity across diverse tissue types, uncovering cell-cell interactions, and performing characterizations of the dynamic transcriptional landscape of immune cells. The CSHL Advanced Sequencing Technologies & Bioinformatics Analysis course will enable me to design and execute single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) and other sequencing experiments during my graduate career. 

Most importantly, I am eager to take a dedicated course in bioinformatics analysis to delve deeper into scRNAseq library preparation, quality control and data analysis. I am also captivated by last year’s CSHL list of guest lecturers, in particular I am fascinated by Jon Preall’s work which combines multiple omics approaches in pursuit of revolutionizing our understanding of the complex immune response. I am sure this year’s course guest lecturers will be as impressive as the last. I believe that this course will equip me with technical expertise and a thorough understanding of sequencing technologies. I am eager to use these skills to unlock novel discoveries during my graduate education and beyond. 

The intersection of immunology and bioinformatics is a rapidly evolving field and provides immense potential for the rapid discovery of immune based therapies. Looking ahead, I would like to pursue a career that combines immunology and bioinformatics as I am eager to contribute to the forefront of scientific discovery by bridging the gap between data-driven analysis and the intricate biology of the immune system. 

“Participating in the CSHL Advanced Sequencing Technologies & Bioinformatics Analysis course will be a great steppingstone to the achievement of my goals.”