Research Expertise and Interest

Human evolutionary genetics

Research Description

Priya Moorjani is an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology.  Her lab focuses on using statistical and computational approaches to study questions in human genetics and evolutionary biology. A central aim in the lab is to understand the impact of evolutionary history on genetic variation and to apply this knowledge to understand human evolution, demographic history and disease. To this end, they use genetic data from ancient specimens and present-day individuals to learn about: (1) how different evolutionary processes such as mutation rate evolve across species, (2) when key events (such as introgression and adaptations) occurred in human history, and (3) how they can leverage these patterns to identify genetic variants related to human adaptation and disease. The research in the lab involves both development of new methods and large-scale genomic data analysis.

In the News

Bottlenecks That Reduced Genetic Diversity Were Common Throughout Human History

Human populations have waxed and waned over the millennia, with some cultures exploding and migrating to new areas or new continents, others dropping to such low numbers that their genetic diversity plummeted. In some small populations, inbreeding causes once rare genetic diseases to become common, despite their deleterious effects. A new analysis of more than 4,000 ancient and contemporary human genomes shows how common such “founder events” were in our history.

Seven early-career faculty win Sloan Research Fellowships

Seven assistant professors from the fields of astronomy, biology, computer science, economics and statistics have been named 2019 Sloan Research Fellows. They are among 126 scholars from the United States and Canada whose early-career achievements mark them as being among today’s very best scientific minds. Winners receive $70,000 over the course of two years toward a research project.
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