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Alexandru Voda

DPhil Student

During my undergraduate education in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Manchester, I had the opportunity to dive into a very broad range of subjects, including courses such as human anatomy, physiology, genetics, molecular biology, immunology, bioinformatics and statistics. During my year-long placement as a research assistant at the University of Nevada and during my final year project at the University of Manchester, I focused my research on identifying and characterising endogenous exonic circular RNAs in nematodes and naked mole rats.

For a long time, I have been passionate about translational research into complex chronic diseases. I am honoured to join the Jostins-Dean group at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology to pursue computational analysis of data from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) patients. In this project, we aim to obtain more insight into the roles of individual cell types in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis by combining the results from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq). Large datasets (both public and unpublished) will be used for this project, ranging from single-cell transcriptomes sequenced by our collaborators to the public Human Cell Atlas Immune Census.

Revealing the cell types associated with genetic risk of IBD may help to refine experimental models and thus push the possibility of better therapeutical targeting. Furthermore, I will attempt to employ bioinformatic approaches to functionally characterize the possibly enriched cell types, in search of useful insights about what goes wrong during IBD.