I am a human geneticist who specializes in the analysis of genomic diversity in contemporary and ancient populations from around the world. My research falls into two broad and often overlapping categories:
1. Reconstructing human population history with genomic data: Since emerging in Africa some 200,000 years ago, our species has expanded to nearly every part of the globe, adapting to numerous ecosystems. People have continued moving as societies have waxed and waned throughout history. The geographic distribution of human genetic diversity is, in part, a result of this history. My lab collects and analyzes genetic data from contemporary and ancient communities to answer questions about how people migrated and interacted throughout prehistory. We are currently collaborating projects on a diverse mix of topics such as the rise of the Aztec empire in central Mexico and the genetic diversity of former foraging groups in southern Africa.
2. Genomics of disease risk in globally diverse populations: Humans vary greatly in their risk of developing complex diseases due to differences in genetic propensities and lived experiences. Our lab takes a multidisciplinary view of complex disease to understand how population history impacts genetic diversity involved in disease risk and how differences in lived experience impact genetic regulation and expression. We make use of the latest technologies in genomic sequencing, functional genomics, and epigenetics to answer these questions. We are particularly interested in infectious and metabolic diseases.
Postdoctoral Researcher in Human Genetics, University of California, Davis, 2020
Ph.D. in Biology, University of Texas at Austin, 2018
B.A. in Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, 2013
My goal as a teacher is to provide students with a toolkit to be successful independent learners. This means helping students gain a solid foundation in the concepts and experimental techniques used in biological anthropology and human genetics, and giving them opportunities to develop the critical thinking and quantitative skills that will serve them in whatever career path they pursue.
I teach a number of introductory and upper-level courses in human genetics. In these courses, students not only learn about the fundamentals and recent advances in human genetics, but get hands on experience in producing and analyzing genomic data. I think that by understanding how the science is done, students will be able to critically engage the increasing number of genomic discoveries related to human history and health.