Samantha Riesenfeld is a computational biologist working at the interface of machine learning, genomics, and systems immunology. In her work on innate lymphoid cells (ILCs), Prof. Riesenfeld uncovered key functional pathways, including neuronal amplification and suppression of ILC allergic responses. Beyond immunology, she contributed to significant research in developmental biology, gene regulation, and metagenomics. Before entering biology, she was a theoretical computer scientist in algorithms and combinatorial optimization.
Riesenfeld earned a PhD in computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, advised by Richard Karp. She did an initial postdoctoral fellowship in metagenomics with Katherine Pollard at the Gladstone Institutes, followed by a longer one in single-cell genomics and immunology in Aviv Regev’s laboratory at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, co-mentored by Vijay Kuchroo at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Her honors include an NSF graduate fellowship, a PhRMA Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Informatics, an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Postdoctoral Fellows, and a Broad Institute BroadIgnite award, which supports innovative, high-risk projects. She is a co-inventor on several patent applications by the Broad Institute.
Using high-throughput genomic data, Riesenfeld Group develops approaches to computationally infer the circuits that regulate gene expression and cellular function. By iterating experimental perturbations, data modeling, and targeted validations, they aim to extract from noisy, large-scale data the signals to help answer complex questions about the immune system, such as: What drives tolerant versus inflammatory immune responses? How do immune pathways contribute to or disrupt tissue homeostasis? How can immune responses be manipulated to restore health?