Phyllis M. Thangaraj

Phyllis M. Thangaraj


MD/PhD Student

As an MD/PhD student in the lab of Nicholas Tatonetti, I study transcriptional regulation in the brain to predict and understand how these mechanisms are altered by genetic mutations in neurodegenerative disease. I use computational and network biology analysis of tissue expression and sequencing data to determine these regulatory pathways. I am also interested in applying machine learning techniques to the electronic health records to determine genetic and clinical indicators of acute disease events such as stroke.

Before Columbia, I graduated from Yale University in 2011 with a BS in physics. My undergraduate thesis project studied chromatin uncoiling by measuring the force of DNA-H1 histone interactions using magnetic tweezers. I then completed a post-baccalaureate IRTA Fellowship in theoretical neuroscience in the Laboratory of Biological Modelling at the National Institutes of Health. We implemented a basic excitatory/inhibitory neuron model used previously to model binocular rivalry to recreate the perception of a motion rivalry illusion.

Education History

BS, Yale University


Vattikuti S, Thangaraj P, Xie HW, Gotts, SJ, Martin A, Chow CC. Canonical cortical circuit model explains rivalry, intermittent rivalry, and rivalry memory. PloS Comput. Biol. 2016 May 3;12(5):e1004903.