The LMS has helped me take my first step towards research leadership

 8 March 2022   Institute News

The MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences (LMS) prides itself on supporting junior researchers in their steps towards establishing a career in science. One example of this is Dr Valeriya Malysheva who will soon be leaving the institute to start her own research group in Antwerp. In this blog Dr Malysheva looks back on her achievements at the LMS and discusses how the institute has helped her to take this next step in her career…

I came to the MRC LMS as part of Mikhail Spivakov’s lab in 2019. I was immediately integrated into a vibrant and supportive scientific community. I will soon be leaving the institute, heading to the VIB Molecular Neurology Centre in Antwerp to start my own research group. But before I do, I would like to take a moment to reflect upon my research achievements at the LMS, and how what I have learnt here has helped me to step into research leadership.

For three intense and exciting years, I have led on and participated in projects that have enabled me to collaborate with many labs across the Institute. There are three projects in particular that I will look back on most fondly. First is the miniaturised Capture Hi-C technology that I developed and patented. This innovative method allows us to study 3D chromatin organisation when working on a low-input material, such as rare cell types and donor samples. We recently used this method to reveal chromatin organisation of a rare type of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) and used the obtained data to identify novel genes mediating the role of ILC3s in Crohn’s disease.

Second, a computational protocol for detection and analysis of chromosomal interactions, now published in Nature protocols. This work was a major effort of all current members of our lab, but also former members and collaborators from the University of Cambridge.

And last, I am very proud of the work our lab has done to contribute to the understanding of SARS-CoV-2. As part of a massive collaborative study, recently published in Cell, we have been unpicking the mechanisms underlying the infection with SARS-CoV-2 and the role of chromatin organisation in it. It was an effort of societal importance, leading to greater understanding of how Covid-19 develops and how it affects cells on a molecular level.

It has been an immense pleasure to work at the LMS, in a group of forward-looking, open-minded scientists, who are all upholding the high-quality data and open science standards.

There is a strong nurturing culture at the LMS. Current and past lab members, colleagues beyond my lab walls, and my group leader Dr Mikhail Spivakov have all given me infinite scientific and career support. In addition, the in-house postdoc mentoring scheme, external MRC career courses and my annual personal development plan helped me to map-out short and long-term project strategies, as well as to establish my career goals and the development I needed to achieve them. I am extremely excited about this step in my career and truly hope the connections I’ve forged during my postdoc at the LMS will stay as strong as ever.