Investigating genetic regulation in the human placenta, while sipping on my flat white.
Big fan of ggplot2 and Jazz music. Jack-of-all-Trades kinda person


About Me

A 3rd year PhD Candidate in the Medical Genetics Graduate Program at The University of British Columbia, I currently reside in the lovely and vibrant city of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada.

My research interests lie in developmental, cardiovascular, and population genetics. My curiosity is driven by wanting to elucidate the genetic differences that exist between populations of different ancestries.

I’m an avid bibliophile, coffee enthusiast, and culinary aficionado. I also make and sell custom genetics-themed graphics and merchandise on Etsy!


| | | | Google Scholar


View my latest CV


Latest Highlights:
My first first-author journal publication
The Genetics Society Newsletter Interview


Skills

Research Background: Genomics and bioinformatics - cardiovascular genetics, developmental/embryonic genetics, epidemiology, lung and liver cancer, RNA, biostatistics

Programming: R/RMarkdown/R Shiny, Linux/BASH, HPC, Git/GitHub, Jupyter

Database Usage: NCBI, OMIM, GEO, UCSC Genome Browser, ClinVar, GeneCards, UniProt, GTex, miRBase, RNACentral

Genomics Analysis Tools: IGV, PLINK, GEMMA, miRMaster

Data Types: GWAS Summary Statistics/SNP (UK/China Kadoorie/Japan Biobanks), RNA sequencing (total and small), single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), DNA methylation (850/450K)


Education


PhD in Medical Genetics

University of British Columbia, Canada
(2019 - )


Thesis Project: Characterizing small non-coding RNAs in the Human Placenta.
Dr. Wendy Robinson - BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute | Lab Website
Dr. Wan Lam - BC Cancer Research Centre | Lab Website


Publications / Awards / Communications


Awards:
Diversity Scholar 2022 - RStudio PBC
Virtual Knowledge Exchange Grant 2021 – BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
Trainee Travel Grant 2022 - BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
4 Year Doctoral Fellowship (4YF) Award (2020-2024) – University of British Columbia
President’s Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award (2020-2024) – University of British Columbia
International Tuition Award (2019-2024) – University of British Columbia

Pubs:
Martinez VD, Cohn DE, Telkar N, Minatel BC, Pewarchuk ME, Marshall EA, Price ME, Robinson WP, Lam WL Profiling the Small Non-Coding RNA Transcriptome of the Human Placenta.. Sci Data 2021; 8, 166.

Cohn DE, Barros-Filho MC, Minatel BC, Pewarchuk ME, Marshall EA, Vucic EA, Sage AP, Telkar N, Stewart GL, Jurisica I, Reis PP, Robinson WP, Lam WL. Reactivation of multiple fetal miRNAs in lung adenocarcinoma. Cancers 2021, 13, 2686.

Marshall EA, Telkar N, Lam WL. Functional role of the cancer microbiome in the solid tumour niche. Current Research in Immunology 2021; 2: 1–6

Rees WD, Telkar N, Lin D, Peloni C, Fathi A, Kobor M, Zachos N, Steiner T. An in vitro chronic damage model impairs inflammatory and regenerative responses in human colonoid monolayers. Cell Reports 2022; 38(3)

Telkar N, Stewart GL, Pewarchuk ME, Cohn DE, Robinson WP, Lam WL. Small Non-Coding RNAs in the Human Placenta: regulatory roles and clinical utility. Frontiers in Genetics 2022; 13.

Minatel BC, Cohn DE, Pewarchuk ME, Barros-Filho MC, Sage AP, Stewart GL, Marshall EA, Telkar N, Martinez VD, Reis PP, Robinson WP, Lam WL. Genetic and epigenetic mechanisms deregulate the CRL2pVHL complex in hepatocellular carcinoma. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2022, [Submitted]

Communication:
University of Toronto Health Network (UHN) Seminar Series - Invited
ONCO548: Knowledge Translation, Interdisciplinary Oncology Program, UBC - Invited
Interview with The Genetics Society UK
Interview with The Interview Portal

Poster Example

MSc in Genetics of Human Disease

University College London, London, England
Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge, London
(2017 - 2018)


Dissertation: Comparing the Genetic Architecture of Lipid Traits between Populations
Supervisor: Dr. Karoline Kuchenbaecker


Publications / Awards / Communications:

Kuchenbaecker K, Telkar N, Reiker T, et al. The transferability of lipid loci across African, Asian and European cohorts. Nature Communications, 2019; 10: 4330.

Polygenics Risk Scores published on EMBL-EBI’s PGS Catalog

BSc in Biomedical Genetics

University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England
(2014 -2017)


Dissertation: Genome-wide RNAi Screening to identify new genes involved in Mitochondrial Disease
University Profile


Publications / Awards / Communications

Awards:

Genes and Development Summer Studentship 2016 – The Genetics Society UK
Faculty of Medical Sciences Undergraduate Research Scholarship 2016 – Newcastle University
Commendation Award – Newcastle University Student Research Scholarships and Expeditions 2016
Second Place Poster Award 2016 – Newcastle University Faculty of Medicine
ncl+ Award – Newcastle University (for extracurricular achievement)

Pubs:

Telkar N. Using WNT5A Expression to Characterize Development in the Human Gut. The Genetics Society News Newsletter, January 2017, Issue 76.


Poster Example


Academic and Professional Experience


Biomedical Data Analyst

BenchSci, Toronto, Canada (April 2022 - )

  • Labelling biomedical data for machine learning training
  • Analyzing and categorizing biomedical product data collected from suppliers of scientific reagents


Biostatistics Expert

BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, Canada (Jan - June 2021)

  • Developed open access videos and resources focused on the statistical terms, concepts, and analyses undertaken in health research at all educational levels (beginner, intermediate and advanced) for the BCCHR 2021 Summer Student Research Program.
  • Coded and designed an Introduction to Biomedical Data Analysis in R tutorial
  • Videos available on the BCCHR website.


Biosciences Administration Assistant

Department of Neuroscience, University College London (Nov 2017 - Jan 2018)

  • Responsible for sorting and filing a large amount of incoming PhD applications


Founder

ScribblezbyNiki (June 2021 - )

  • Designing genetics/science-inspired merchandise sold on Etsy
  • Each order has received 5-star reviews


Founder

SPIRITFUL (April - September 2019)

  • Started a business selling original artwork, handling all workflow from procuring raw material, assembly, marketing, to shipping
  • 60% profit margin, 25% of profits directed to the HelpAge India NGO - a non-profit focused on the elderly

Leadership Initiatives


Co-Chair

Trainee Omics Group (TOG) Committee, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (September 2021 - Present)

  • A graduate trainee-led bioinformatics and data analysis support group teaching and guiding students/trainees in statistical analyses and methodologies undertaken in biomedical/health research
  • Hosting weekly workshops and seminars on topics requested for by trainees, maintaining the TOG GitHub, inviting guest instructors, event planning - event registration up by
  • Designed, coded, and delivered a 2-part RNA-seq Workshop detailing all steps from raw sequence alignment to gene/pathway enrichment
  • Developing a university-wide High Performance Computing (HPC) Genomic Analyses Workshop Series for Summer 2022


Advisory Committee Member

Department of Medical Genetics, UBC (2019 – Present)


Executive Consultant

UBC Medical Genetics Graduate Student Association (January 2021 – Present)

  • Assisting the board with executive decisions and planning events at this departmental social and outreach association
  • Recruited panelists and moderated the Alumni Panel at the annual welcome event (received public acknowledgment), directed a fundraiser (raised ~$300), developed the website


Marketing and Social Media Lead

UBC Undergraduate 3 Minute Thesis Committee (2020 – 2021)


Volunteer

Geneskool, Genome British Columbia (October 2019 – October 2020)

  • Conducted in-person interactive activities focused on introducing and educating students (ages 10-12) about genetics and its applications at local schools in Vancouver
  • Committee Member at the Girls and STEAM Symposium 2019 hosted by BC Science World


Research Mentor

Newcastle University and UBC (2015 – 2016 / 2020 – Present)

  • Guiding and assisting incoming graduate students, both professionally and personally
  • Aiding in formulating research questions, analysis methodologies, and interpretation of data


Vice President

Newcastle South Asian Society (2016 – 2017)

  • Second-in-charge in this cultural society committee and responsible for delegating and supervising tasks
  • Oversaw event management – Corresponding with services and sponsors, locating venues, recording inventory, maintaining finances
  • Events arranged for up to 20 to 500 guests
  • Publicity Officer (2015 – 2016) – Management of all social media accounts of the committee, main email correspondent, digitization of all posters and tickets.

Teaching


Teaching Assistant

University of British Columbia, Canada (Sept - Dec 2020)

  • TA for the graduate MEDG 520 Advanced Human Molecular Genetics course in the Department of Medical Genetics.
  • Instrumental in restructuring the course and assignment format for the year
  • Facilitated in transitioning this in-person, discussion-based course to a virtual environment (chose the platform for teaching and guided instructors through its usage)
  • Held real-time online tutorials on topics most requested by the students (as well as one-on-one meetings and discussions)
  • Named "the best TA he's ever worked with" by the Head of the Medical Genetics Graduate Program : “Nikita always responded promptly and thoughtfully to requests for advice. Her input and assistance helped guide the learning process. She did everything I think a good teacher should, and went above and beyond the time and effort I would expect from a TA. She was the best part of the course.”


Visiting Scholar

MIT-ADT School of Bioengineering Sciences and Research, Pune, India (Feb - July 2019)

  • Invited Visiting Lecturer (3 lectures) in Genetics for the Bachelor of Technology-Bioengineering undergraduate program


Workshop Lead

Trainee Omics Group (TOG) Committee, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute (September 2021 - Present)


Graduate Instructional Skills Workshop

Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology, UBC

  • 4-day workshop (24-hour) conisiting of teaching practice, theory application, and topical sessions specifically relevant for Teaching Assistants. Delivered 3 short lectures on the genetics of the ABO blood groups
  • Feedback from fellow team member: "Nikita, your students will be lucky to have you, you make everything so easy to understand.”



Extras

  • Judges’ Choice Award - GrasRoots Case Competition 2021, University of British Columbia
  • UCL Business Game 2017 – University College London
  • News Reporter – Health Science Inquiry, 2019 – 2020: Published a Photo Essay ‘A Week in the Life of a Geneticist’ in their 2020 issue.