Dianne Acoba


Biographical Sketch

Originally from the Philippines, Dianne's passion for molecular biology started during her years studying in a science high school. In 2013, she received her BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the University of the Philippines. Upon reading Denis Noble’s “The Music of Life: Biology Beyond Genes”, she decided to go into the field of genomics. After quite a reductionist view on biology during her undergraduate degree, the idea of looking at biological units as complex systems was new and eye-opening.

In 2014, she started working on a plant transcriptomics project as a research associate at the Philippine Genome Center. From optimizing RNA isolation and performing next-generation sequencing, up to the transcript assembly and functional annotation of the transcriptome, all of these she performed independently while learning how to work in a Unix environment and code using bash, Python, and R.

While working full-time for almost six years, Dianne undertook a Master's degree part-time. Her thesis made use of RNA-seq data for tissue-specific expression studies. She received her MSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the University of the Philippines in 2019. Although her experience in analyzing and interpreting high-throughput data was for plant transcriptomics, pivoting to biomedical research that makes use of and will advance her bioinformatics skill set was what she wanted for her PhD studies.

A disease as complex and multifactorial as Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) needs to be analyzed through the integration of various omics data and this is what Dianne will focus on as a PhD student at AstraZeneca. Stratification of CKD patients using data-driven approaches can further advance our biological understanding of the disease by shedding light on its different etiologies. Ultimately, the goal of Dianne's study is to discover biomarkers and drug targets towards personalized medicine and therapy for CKD patients.