Ina is a behavioral geneticist working to understand how genes and environmental factors combine to regulate the expression of genes that guide how individuals behave. As a Schmidt Science Fellow working with Dr Jared Simpson at the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research, she is pivoting into machine learning and aims to develop new methods for studying environmental influences on the regulation of gene expression.
Ina’s research is uncovering new insights into the age-old debate of nature versus nurture – or more accurately, the differing role of genetics and epigenetics. She has found that the interaction of the two is more important than many people often think. This is important as complex genes are regulated to influence multiple behaviors and therapies targeting one gene can lead to unexpected side effects.
Ina plans to use the combination of machine learning techniques with the capabilities of the fruit fly as a model organism to develop new computational approaches that could then be applied to the study of genetic mutations in any organism.