» about

I'm a Ph.D. student in the MIT Machine Learning Group and at the Broad Institute, working on probabilistic methods for learning from single-cell studies.

I am co-advised by Tamara Broderick (MIT CSAIL) and Aviv Regev (Broad Institute of MIT & Harvard).

Before that, I was a Molecular Biology major at Pomona College, a Fulbright scholar at the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics, an intern at Fast Forward Labs, and a cheese microbiologist at Jasper Hill.

» projects

(Probabilistic) paths along Waddington's landscape...

Bayesian tree models of cellular differentiation

[ MIT CSAIL, Broad Institute ]
Inferring latent cell state dynamics (along a probabilistic branching continuum) from static snapshots (single-cell profiles of gene expression).
VAE latent spaceevolution

Variational autoencoders, in prose and code

[ Fast Forward Labs ]
Whitepaper-style blog series for FFL.
  • Introducing variational autoencoders (blogpost)
  • Under the hood of the variational autoencoder (blogpost)
Bayley rind fungi

Microbial ecology and evolution

[ Australian Centre for Ecogenomics, Jasper Hill Farm, Harvard Systems Biology ]
Computational and experimental approaches to microbial communities in marsupial guts, the human microbiome, and cheese.
  • Shiffman M, RM Soo, PG Dennis, M Morrison, GW Tyson, P Hugenholtz (2017) Gene and genome-centric analyses of koala and wombat fecal microbiomes point to metabolic specialization for Eucalyptus digestion. PeerJ.
    (paper, blogpost)
  • Shiffman M, J Button, RJ Dutton (2014) Cheese as a model microbial ecosystem. International Society for Microbial Ecology (ISME) conference. (poster)
  • Shiffman M, LM Seligman (2013) Evolutionary dynamics of intein-encoded homing endonucleases. (thesis, figs)
  • Shiffman M, BM Charalambous (2012) The search for archaeal pathogens. Reviews in Medical Microbiology. (paper)