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Yiwen Chen

PhD student

Yiwen Chen, BSc.

After one course in genetics during my sophomore year, my passion for Biology was recommenced after nearly being lost due to heavily memorization-oriented zoology and botany courses. I’ve realized how lucky I am to find genetics as logical, quantitative, and that it has laws to follow. Hence I decided to dedicate my career to this field.

I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology at Sun Yat-Sen University, China, with my thesis project aiming at improving the GWAS results of Major Depression Disorder in humans via empowering pleiotropic genetic markers, which also contributed to one bigger project of the lab assessing the total genetic contribution of each genetic variant across a wide range of phenotypes, lately published in Nature Communications.

In order to improve my knowledge and skills about genomic analysis, I further continued a Master's degree in Bioinformatics at Uppsala University, Sweden. For my thesis study, I conducted QTL analyses of multiple traits in a body-weight-selected chicken intercross line, and it was during that process, I found my particular interest and passion in evolutionary genetics. Therefore, I joined the program at the Vienna Graduate School of Population Genetics to pursue a Ph.D. degree in evolutionary genetics.

During my Ph.D. studies, I will contribute to the work in temperature adaptation of Drosophila simulans. The genomic signatures were previously studied after the fruit flies are adapted to a cold or a hot environment respectively, while my project aims to reveal what will happen if the selection pressure is reversed, i.e., changing the cold-adapted flies to a hot environment. It is anticipated that we can rule out lab adaptation better and improve the efficiency of selection providing higher allele frequency of potentially selected alleles after the first stage of selection with this particular study design.