New Faculty

Dr. Reyka Jayasinghe joins the Department of Medicine

Reyka Jayasinghe, PhD

Dr. Reyka Jayasinghe graduated from San Francisco State University in 2013 before pursuing doctoral study in Dr. Li Ding’s lab at Washington University School of Medicine (WashU) as part of the Molecular Genetics and Genomics program. As a graduate student, Dr. Jayasinghe discovered mis-annotated splice-site-creating mutations across many cancer types using high-throughput computational methods in The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) dataset. As a postdoc, she transitioned to studying the transcriptomic diversity of cancers using single-cell technologies. In her postdoctoral work Dr. Jayasinghe and colleagues identified unique transitional populations in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma and mixed subtype breast cancer subpopulations. Outside of research, Dr. Jayasinghe is well-versed in leading and working with non-profit organizations and programs focused on increasing the representation of diverse students in STEM disciplines through her work with the Young Scientist Program (YSP) and Opportunities in Genomics Research (OGR) Program. Dr. Jayasinghe joined the faculty as an Instructor on the Research Track in the Division of Oncology on April 1st, 2021.

Many solid and hematologic malignancies have benefitted from chimeric antigen receptor therapies (CART). However, there is limited understanding about mechanisms of CART persistence and exhaustion and the effects on the tumor microenvironment. Dr. Jayasinghe’s research utilizes genomics and single-cell technologies to optimize clinical and preclinical models of CART and iNKT to treat cancer. Dr. Jayasinghe also studies multiple myeloma and colorectal cancer in underrepresented groups to better characterize the genomic and transcriptional cancer landscape of understudied ethnic groups. Through her research, Dr. Jayasinghe hopes to both address cancer disparities and improve anti-tumor efficacy of CART therapies.