Department of Systems Biology Holds Annual MAGNet Retreat

Sayantan Bose Receives Best Poster Award

Associate Professor Harmen Bussemaker (left) presents the best poster award to postdoc Sayantan Bose for his efforts to develop a high-throughput platform for performing single-cell RNA-Seq.

On May 30, 2014, the Columbia University Department of Systems Biology and its Center for Multiscale Analysis of Genomic and Cellular Networks (MAGNet) held its annual retreat at Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown, NY. The event provided an overview of some recent work undertaken by Department investigators, and provided a comfortable setting for department members to socialize and exchange ideas about their current research interests.

The event featured 14 scientific talks covering topics including single cell methods for addressing cellular heterogeneity, integrative methods for combining genome and transcriptome sequencing, new insights into the biology of cancer and HIV, exercises in molecular computing, methods for elucidating microRNA networks, studies of phenotypic evolution and host-pathogen interactions, as well as recent faculty research in the areas of genome engineering, RNA splicing, and genome analysis, among others. Reflecting on the gathering, Department of Systems Biology chair Andrea Califano remarked, “It is truly impressive to see the range of really elegant science that gets done here. And I’m especially proud of the talks that were given by the most recent recruits because they highlight the future directions of the department.”

MAGNet Newsletter 2014
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In addition to the oral presentations, the retreat included a poster session in which students and postdocs presented additional recent work taking place around the Department. Borrowing a table decoration from the catering facility, Associate Professor Harmen Bussemaker presented what he humorously named the “Golden Hairball” award to Sayantan Bose, a postdoc in the Peter Sims lab, for his poster “A Highly Scalable Platform for Single Cell RNA-Seq.” The poster described a novel microfluidic platform he is helping to develop that will provide a cost-effective method for genome-wide expression profiling. Bose also received $150 for his best poster award.

Following a full day of presentations, attendees enjoyed a reception on the Tappan Hill Mansion’s terrace, which offered spectacular views across the Hudson River. Attendees could reflect on the science presented over the course of the day while enjoying the late afternoon sun.