PhD student at the University of Queensland
Recipient of Australian Postgraduate Award and AIBN Top-Up scholarship
Lizzi's research tests the hypothesis that variance within biological populations describes an important, but until now hidden predictor of cellular behaviour and phenotype. Phenotypic heterogeneity in clonally derived cell populations is ubiquitous, and mask biologically relevant information often masked by using population-averaging techniques, versus individual cell based measurements. She is currently developing new network approaches which incorporate gene expression variance, and in doing so hopes to understand the genetic elements which stabilize a cellular state, and push a cell to transition from a stem cell to a differentiated lineage. From this, she predicts that cellular networks describing pluripotency, differentiation and human disease will exhibit measurable changes in expression variance, such that the variance of a population will be informative about the regulatory constraints on the disease network.
Lizzi first started working on population variance as a research assistant and laboratory manager with Professor Greg Gibson (Centre for Integrative Genomics, Georgia Tech University), who has a distinguished career in developmental genomics of Drosophila. In November 2008 Lizzi graduated from a Bachelor of Science in fields of Neuroscience and Psychology, with Honours Class I in developmental biology. She has been teaching in the Biomedical Sciences department since 2008 as a junior academic.