Sunil Kenchanmane Raju, first author of “DNA methylation signatures of duplicate gene evolution in angiosperms”
Postdoc, Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, New York University
Education: Ph.D. University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Non-scientific Interests: Playing badminton, table tennis, and cricket, and cooking traditional Indian cuisine
Sunil is currently a postdoc in Ken Birnbaum’s lab at the Center for Genomics and Systems Biology at New York University. His current research focuses on comparative single-cell genomics in maize and related grasses. Sunil finished his master’s at the Kuvempu University in India and obtained his Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he showed the utility of induced epigenetic variation in plant breeding for yield and stability-related traits in soybean and Arabidopsis. After his Ph.D., Sunil joined the Niederhuth lab as a postdoc at Michigan State University, working towards understanding the influence of DNA methylation and other epigenomic factors on the expression and evolution of genes across plant species. In this paper, Sunil showed that distinct genic DNA methylation patterns are associated with different types of gene duplicates. Further, non-CG DNA methylation in duplicate paralogs is associated with more recent duplication, higher rates of sequence evolution, increased frequency of presence-absence variation, and much narrow gene expression breadth, suggesting its role in genome dosage balance following duplication. Sunil is also co-founder of the worldwide organization Plant Postdocs, a peer community for early-career plant scientists to share resources and support each other in their career development.