Samantha Piekos, PhD

K. Carole Ellison Fellow in Bioinformatics

Hood-Price Lab

Samantha Piekos

Samantha began her research career at the University of Notre Dame studying retinal regeneration in zebrafish. After completing her BS degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology in 2015, she attended Stanford University to complete her PhD in Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. There she joined the lab of Dr. Anthony Oro studying human keratinocyte differentiation using a multidimensional omics approach. This work shed insight into how transcription factors change the epigenetic landscape to direct transitions in the cell state transcriptional program. Samantha also developed an algorithm to prioritize non-coding genetic variants involved in complex diseases. She validated it in the context of Type 1 Diabetes and then deployed it to study genetic variance contribution in craniofacial disorders such as cleft lip/palate. Samantha has also been collaborating with Google since June 2019 to build Biomedical Data Commons, a knowledge graph that integrates biomedical data from a wide array of sources into a single searchable database thereby increasing data accessibility.

Samantha joined the Hood-Price Lab at the Institute for Systems Biology as a postdoctoral fellow upon completion of her PhD in 2020. Using patient medical records she has provided insight into the impact of maternal COVID-19 infection on birth outcomes. She is continuing her work to understand the effect of COVID-19 vaccination on maternal-fetal outcomes, medications used to treat pregnant COVID-19 patients, and the severity of maternal infections of emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants. In addition to her work on COVID-19 and pregnancy, Samantha is using multidimensional omics placental data to understand the mechanism of pregnancy-related disorders including preterm birth, preeclampsia, and fetal growth restriction. She is also developing analyses that enable individualized insights into multidimensional omics data, which can have future applications in precision medicine.

Maternal-Fetal Health, Knowledge Graphs, Multidimensional Omics, COVID-19

PhD, Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, Stanford University
BS, Biological Sciences, Psychology, University of Notre Dame