Shajahan Anver, co-first author of Gene expression evolution in pattern-triggered immunity within Arabidopsis thaliana and across Brassicaceae species
Current Position: Research Associate, Department of Genetics Evolution and Environment & UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing, University College London
Education: BSc (University of Peradeniya), MS & PhD (University of California Davis)
Non-scientific Interests: Reading history and sci-fi, Museum visits, Scrabble, Playing / watching football & cricket with my boys, Nature walks and hikes with the family, Google local guide
During my BSc I developed a greater interest in genetics and microbiology which drove me to pursue a PhD in molecular biology. My PhD training exposed me to the wonderful world of omics and bioinformatics. I learnt to appreciate the power of omics approaches to answer questions of basic biology. Now, I strongly believe omics approaches could be wisely harnessed to decode the complex language of life with appropriate data analyses tools. During my PhD at UC Davis, I used both Arabidopsis and fission yeast to functionally characterize X-chromosome associated protein 5 (Xap5). We took genome-wide genetic, transcriptomic and proteomic approaches along with other basic physiological experiments in both model systems to show that Xap5 binds chromatin and repress cryptic transcripts including transposable elements and long terminal repeats.
After my PhD, I joined Max Plank Institute for Plant Breeding Research and explored the conservation / diversification of inert immune system in Brassicaceae using omics approaches. We took transcriptomics, hormonomics, and biochemical approaches. I, later, joined Bähler group at UCL to work with fission yeast again. Yet another mystery to solve for the ‘Omics Detective’. Genomes produce pervasive and diverse non-coding RNAs. How much genetic information is transacted by this non-coding ‘dark matter’ remains a matter of debate. A substantial portion of transcriptomes consists of long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs), which are typically lowly expressed but feature substantial expression changes in different cell types or physiological conditions such as ageing and cancers, suggesting specialized roles. What is the biological significance of lincRNAs?