About Me


My name is Shushan Toneyan.

I am a graduate student at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (NY, USA) at a computational genomics lab focusing on deep learning model interpretability.

Prior to this I have worked and studied (MSc) at the University of Bern in Switzerland and University of Oxford (BA). My graduate thesis focuses on developing deep learning models to predict gene expression and epigenetic features from genomic sequences.

Each cell in our body contains (more or less) the same DNA but each differentiates into a specialized cell type with a wide range of different forms and functions. Differential gene expression (turning on and off certain genes) is a major determinant of how cells develop in health and disease.

I use supervised convolutional and transformer networks to learn how natural human genetic variation is associated with functional readouts such as gene expression. I aim to incorporate different data modalities in an integrated model of gene expression in order to understand how epigenetic regulation alters gene expression. I then aim to use these models as an in silico laboratories to test hypotheses about how mutations can alter the state of a human cell leading to abnormal phenotypes.

This could improve our understanding of how gene regulation leads to complex human diseases such as cancer. My overarching goal in research is to apply such knowledge to improve and develop treatments to cancer and other diseases.

You can find more details about my experience/education here.