Devang Haresh Liya


I am interested in using multi-wavelength observations and novel statistical techniques to study the connection between dark matter halos and galaxy formation.

My research

The (over-)simplified summary of various projects that I have undertaken. Feel free to contact me if you wish to discuss any of these projects!

Unified model of AGN

Unified model of AGN
Credit: B. Saxton NRAO/AUI/NSF

Obscuration geometry around AGN

Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) is a highly luminous compact region at the center of a galaxy. Despite the first AGNs being discovered over 100 years ago, our understanding, till today, of AGN activity and the processes regulating it remains severely incomplete. Detailed studies of the individual sources are extremely useful, providing a magnifying glass to study the circum-nuclear environment around the central supermassive black hole that drives the emission from the AGNs. This project is multi-mission broadband study of x-ray spectrum of one such heavily obscured AGN using robust global sampling algorithms in Bayesian X-ray Analysis (BXA) package. Dr. Aru Beri and Dr. Peter Boorman are supervising this project.

Voronoi tessellation by radial growth in 2D

Voronoi tessellation by radial growth in 2D
Credit: Jahobr, CC0

Constrainting galaxy evolution and cosmology using novel clustering statistics

Voronoi tessellations based Voronoi Volume Function (VVF) is a novel unexplored probe for cosmology and galaxy evolution. We (Dr. Shadab Alam, Dr. Aseem Paranjape, and I) use VVF as a clustering statistic and simulated galaxy redshift catalogues to study the power of VVF in constraining parameters governing galaxy formation in dark matter halos as well as the cosmological parameters simultaneously.

Change in initial density field with smoothing scale

Change in initial density field with smoothing scale
Credit: Devang Liya

Effect of the tidal fields in the formation of the dark matter halos

Observed mass distribution of the dark matter halos in the universe — known as halo mass function — shows significant departures from theoretical predictions. It could be possible to explain this discrepancy by considering the effects of the large scale tidal field when the dark matter halos are formed. In my master's thesis, we are studying such influences in a variety of ways to quantify the effect of the shape of the power spectrum on the mass function. We plan to compare our results with simulations. Prof. Jasjeet Singh Bagla, Dr. Aseem Paranjape, and Dr. Nishikanta Khandai are my supervisors for this project.

  • Key conecepts:Halo model, Excursion set theory, cosmological N-body simulations
  • Computational tools:Python

Drawing of SWAN setup at Gauribidanur

Drawing of SWAN setup at Gauribidanur Radio Observatory
Credit: SWAN

Looking at the radio sky

The sky looks drastically different in different wavelenths of light. Each wavelength requires specialized telescopes and training in using those telescopes. Sky Watch Array Network (SWAN) is a MWA type radio telescope. We used this setup to observe the Sun, developed a pipeline to process the raw data generated from the telescope, performed interferometary and finally produced an image of the Sun at 195 MHz. Snippets of code used in the pipeline can be found in this repository. Feel free to contact me if you need additional resources or have suggestions on improving the pipeline.

  • Key conecepts:Data processing from radio telescope, Aperture synthesis
  • Computational tools:Python, numpy, scipy, matplotlib, CASA

Drug-protein interaction after docking

Drug-protein interaction after docking
Credit: Anand NM, Liya DH+ (2021)

Identifying drug targets in SARS-CoV-2

COVID-19 pandemic that made the Zoom an integral part of our lives, was caused by a virus named SARS-CoV-2. We developed CRAM — a tiny piece of code to identify the non-mutating stable sites in the SARS-CoV-2 genome. We then used these sites for drug targeting and studied the interaction between the selected drugs and the protein produced by the stable sites using molecular dynamics simulations. This work was done in collabortation with Ashwin Kumar Jainarayanan of University of Oxford, and Dr. Arpit Kumar Pradhan of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. The results are peer reviewed and published in PLOS One.

  • Key conecepts:Mutation analysis, Molecular dynamics simulations.
  • Computational tools:Use of cluster for parallel computing, Desmond

FearOmone logo

Credit: Sveekruth Pai, IISER-Mohali iGEM'18


Nearly 40% of India's foodgrain production is lost during the post-harvest phase. Rats and mice are one of the major causes of this loss. Inspired by the natural prey-predator relationship between rats and cats, we developed a bio-synthetic deterrent by using genetically engineered yeast to produce cat pheromones. We also developed variety of hardwares and softwares to safely deploy the product. We presented this work at the Giant Jamboree held in Boston, USA and were awarded a bronze medal along with a nomination for the best food and nutrition project. Visit the project website to learn more!

  • Key conecepts:Synthetic biology, Diffusion, 3D printing.
  • Computational tools:Python, MATLAB

Pancreatic endocrinogenesis

Pancreatic endocrinogenesis
Credit: Bastidas-Ponce+ (2019)

Other projects

  • QPromoters: Your go-to tool for predicting the strength of Saccharomyces cerevisiae promoters! Visit here for the online tool, here for the code repository, and here for accompanying article.
  • I am also intrigued by the concept of "RNA velocity" which is elegantly explained here by Sten Linnarsson. In this, one tries to reconstruct cell dynamics from single-cell RNA-sequencing data using a likelihood-based dynamical model. We are using tools such as scVelo, velocyto, and Seurat to apply this concept and study the dyanmics in Glioblastoma and COVID-19.
  • I am interested in using statistical techniques to solve real world problems. Please contact me if you have any new exciting ideas and can use my expertise!

  • Publications and Outreach

    Published articles

  • Anand N.M., Liya D.H., Pradhan A.K., Tayal N., Bansal A., et al. (2021) A comprehensive SARS-CoV-2 genomic analysis identifies potential targets for drug repurposing. PLOS ONE 16(3): e0248553.
  • Devang Haresh Liya, Mirudula Elanchezhian, Mukulika Pahari, Nithishwer Mouroug Anand, Shivani Suresh, Nivedha Balaji, Ashwin Kumar Jainarayanan et al. (2021) QPromoters: Sequence based prediction of promoter strength in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. bioRxiv.
  • Beal, J., Farny, N.G., Haddock-Angelli, T. ,Selvarajah, V. , Baldwin, G. S., Buckley-Taylor, R., Gershater M., Kiga, D., Marken, J., Sanchania, V., Sison A., Workman C. T. & iGEM Interlab Study Contributors et al. (2020) Robust estimation of bacterial cell count from optical density. Commun Biol 3, 512.
  • In preparation

  • Liya D.H., Alam S., Paranjape A.: Impact of Galaxy physics on precision Cosmology from non-linear scales.
  • Outreach activities

    I strongly believe that everyone must get the opportunity to experience the excitement of doing science irrespective of their background. Therefore, I have always been actively involved in science communication and outreach activities. Following are some highlights from those activities.

  • Quizmaster at Vigyan Samagam — first mega science exhibition in India — Delhi edition.
  • Volunteered for Physics demonstrations for school children on IISER-Mohali foundation day celebration.
  • Convener of The Astronomy Club at IISER-Mohali from 2018 to 2021. During this time, I organized lectures, astronomy weekend hangouts, sky-watching sessions, quizzes, etc.
  • Planned and organized an astronomy week at IISER-Mohali. This included demonstrations, games, myth-buster events, and hands-on sessions for variety of demographics like school children, undergraduates, graduates from other fields, members of the public, etc.
  • Involved in training younger members of the SWAN group at IISER-Mohali in radio astronomy.
  • I also write a blog as a resource for anyone to get their hands dirty by analyzing real astronomical data.
  • Hosted a reddit AMA to spread awareness about synthetic biology and general scientific thinking.

  • Curriculum Vitae


    Integrated Masters in Physics

    2017 - 2022

    Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, India

    Majoring in Physics with a minor in astronomy and astrophysics in the Department of Physical Sciences at IISER-Mohali, India.

    Bachelor of Computer Engineering

    2016 - 2017

    Vivekanand Education Society's Institute Of Technology, Mumbai, India

    Completed two semesters of coursework in the Department of Computer Engineering at VESIT. Dropped out to pursue research in natural sciences.

    Higher Secondary School Certificate

    2014 - 2016

    Hill Spring International Jr. College, Mumbai, India

    Graduated with 89.8% and was in top 1 percentile in Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education.


    • Physics: Classical mechanics, Electrodynamics, Advanced quantum mechanics, Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, Solid state physics, Nuclear and particle physics.
    • Astronomy: Astronomy & Astrophysics, Astrophysical processes and stars, High energy astrophysics, Physics of fluids
    • Mathematics: Group theory & linear algebra, Probability & statistics, Curves & surfaces, Mathematical methods for physicists, Computational methods for physicists
    • Others: Network science, Modelling complex systems, Climate change & sustainable development, Philosophy of science, Principles of economics

    Computer skills

    • Expert in Python, including scientific packages like NumPy, pandas, SciPy, Astropy, scikit-learn and visualization packages like Matplotlib, seaborn, and tkinter.
    • Known programming languages: C/C++, R, Julia, MATLAB, Mathematica, SageMath
    • Known softwares: Xspec/PyXspec, FTOOLS, CASA, DS9, Proteus, LTSpice
    • Others: Linux OS, MPI, git, MySQL, HTML/CSS, LaTeX, Photoshop/Illustrator, Office softwares

    Download full CV here.

    Awards and Scholarships

    • Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) Fellowship (2017 - present)
    • Won Bronze medal and nomination for the best food and nutrition project at iGEM, (2018)
    • Won the Sky Watch Array Network (SWAN) Imaging challenge, (2018)
    • Won the hackathon and the quiz at the North India Astronomy Meet, IIT-Mandi, (2018, 2019)
    • Best project award at the Awakening a Scientist competition, VESIT, Mumbai, (2017)
    • Various awards for documentaries and short films made at VESIT, Mumbai, (2016, 2017)

    Conferences and workshops