Sohini is officially tenured and appointed Director of CCMB!    Jul 1, 2017

As of today, Sohini is officially tenured and promoted to Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Associate Professor of Computer Science. She has also been appointed Director of Brown University’s Center for Computational Molecular Biology by the Provost, after serving as Interim Director since January 2017. Looking forward to this new chapter, especially to growth in the lab and continuing to pursue collaborative, risky, creative research projects!

Priya starts a summer internship at 23andme!    Jun 5, 2017

This summer, Priya will be working as a summer intern at, supervised by Dr. Joanna Mountain (who incidentally was a mentor to Sohini back at Stanford). We miss having her in the lab in person but are excited that she is pursuing this opportunity. We look forward to welcoming Priya back in the fall!

Sam starts his rotation in the lab!    Jun 5, 2017

Sam Smith, who just graduated from Vanderbilt University, has joined the Ramachandran Lab and will be taking summer courses as he matriculates into the Computational Biology doctoral program. Welcome!

Congratulations to our graduates, Tyler Dae Devlin '17, Annie Fischer '17, and Katie Liu '17!    May 28, 2017

Tyler, Annie, and Katie have been wonderful members of the Ramachandran Lab and will be receiving their college diplomas today in Brown’s 249th Commencement Exercises.

Tyler is graduating with an Sc.B. in Applied Math-Biology, and was awarded a Class of 2017 Senior Prize in Biology in recognition of his “academic excellence, research achievement, and intellectual contributions in biological sciences”. Tyler will begin working in the San Francisco Bay Area this fall as a Software Engineer at Yelp. Annie is also receiving her Sc.B. in Applied Math-Biology, and is a co-author on Lauren’s SWeep Inference Framework (controlling for correlation); following graduation, Annie will be working in technology at Capital One in Washington, DC. Katie is graduating with an Sc.B. in Computer Science and Religious Studies; she will be moving to Seattle to join Microsoft as a software engineer on the Shell Team of the Windows and Devices group.

We will miss Tyler, Annie, and Katie, and wish them all the best in their future endeavors! They contributed a lot to the Ramachandran Lab; luckily Annie will be close by, and Tyler and Katie will work in the lab for a bit this summer on pong.


Sahar begins her doctoral work!    May 1, 2017

Sahar Shahamatdar ‘13 has begun her doctoral work in the lab as an MD-PhD student; Sahar is interested in identifying ancestry-informative markers using population-genomic datasets. We are very excited to have her officially join the lab!

Stephen passes his quals!    Apr 7, 2017

Graduate student Stephen Rong has passed his quals! Stephen successfully defended his thesis proposal on novel methods for detecting adaptive variants from population-genomic datasets, and answered general knowledge questions on a range of subjects in evolutionary genetics and computational biology. He will now work on writing up his first chapter on supervised learning for detecting hard and soft sweeps. Congratulations to the Candidate!

Lauren presents SWIF(r) at NYA PopGen!    Jan 19, 2017

Lauren Sugden’s abstract on her SWeep Inference Framework (controlling for correlation), entitled ``An interpretable, dependence-aware composite classification framework for hard sweep detection and localization, with application to a Southern African population’’ was selected for one of 16 talks at the New York Area Population Genomics Workshop 2017. We are excited for her to tell others about this project’s results!

Sohini interviewed in Genome Biology profile    Jul 25, 2016

Sohini is one of three faculty profiled by Genome Biology in A two-fold challenge: the experience of women of color in genomics. It’s an honor to be included in this piece discussing what can be done to encourage and support women of color in STEM fields.

New review article published by Sugden and Ramachandran!    Jul 25, 2016

Lauren Alpert Sugden and Sohini Ramachandran have written a review entitled “Integrating the signatures of demic expansion and archaic introgression in studies of human population genomics” out in Current Opinion in Genetics and Development. The review is part of a special issue edited by Josh Akey and Anna Di Rienzo on the genetics of human origin. We look forward to reading the entire issue!

PEGASUS is accepted by Genetics    Jul 25, 2016

Graduate student’s Priya Nakka’s first paper from the lab has been accepted by Genetics! The paper is entitled “Gene and network analysis of common variants reveals novel associations in multiple complex diseases” by Nakka, Raphael, and Ramachandran. PEGASUS, the new method described in this publication, is freely available at github (also see our PEGASUS project site for more information). Congratulations to all the authors!

pong is published in Bioinformatics    Jun 9, 2016

pong has been released in an Original Paper in Bioinformatics. pong (latest version: 1.3.4) is freely available and can be installed using the Python package management system pip. pong’s source code is available at Congratulations to all the authors!

Julia joins the faculty at Stanford!    Apr 20, 2016

Our postdoc, Julia Palacios, co-advised by John Wakeley at Harvard, has accepted a tenure-track faculty position at Stanford University. She will be an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Statistics and Biomedical Data Science, beginning Fall 2016. During her time in the Ramachandran Lab, Julia has been funded by our NSF CAREER award and by Brown’s CCMB. We are very excited for her next chapter, and look forward to continuing our collaboration!

Sohini is awarded the Henry Merritt Wriston Fellowship    Mar 30, 2016

Sohini has been awarded Brown’s Henry Merritt Wriston Fellowship for 2016-2017; the fellowship is named for Brown’s 11th President, and is awarded each year to junior faculty members who have achieved a record of excellence in teaching and scholarship during their first years at Brown. We are grateful for this recognition, and the award comes with one semester’s leave, which Sohini will take during Fall 2016.

Stephen receives an NSF graduate fellowship!    Mar 2, 2016

Our graduate student Stephen Rong has received a 2016 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, which will fund him for up to three years during his graduate work. Stephen won this amidst very stiff competition, which is detailed in the NSF press release. He is the third Computational Biology graduate student to receive an NSF graduate fellowship, following in the footsteps of Raphael Lab members Max Leiserson and Ashley Conard. Congratulations, Stephen!

R01 funded!    Mar 2, 2016

Our R01 (PI: Ramachandran) entitled ``Novel statistical methods to localize genomic elements underlying adaptive evolution’’ will be funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The research includes collaborative efforts with the Raphael Lab at Brown University and the Henn Lab at Stony Brook University, and will allow us to gain new insight into the interaction between selection and dynamic population histories in generating human genetic diversity.

pong update (Version 1.2.7)    Feb 12, 2016

A newly updated version of pong is available (hosted on PyPI) and can be installed with pip.

This version of pong operates without internet access.

For users with previous pong installations, we recommend running the following commands:

pip uninstall pong
pip install --no-cache-dir pong

These will ensure that pong’s old directory structure is eliminated and pip grabs the new version of pong instead of installing from a local cached version.

Priya passed quals!    Dec 18, 2015

Our graduate student Priya Nakka passed her qualifying exam and advanced to candidacy on December 18, 2015, successfullying defending her thesis proposal entitled ``Understanding the evolutionary history of genes underlying complex phenotypes’’ and answering general knowledge questions on a range of subjects in computational biology and population genetics.

Here is Priya, celebrating in the lab after her exam:

pong (Version 1.0) is released!    Nov 15, 2015

pong, our new software for processing and visualizing output from clustering inference (e.g., STRUCTURE and ADMIXTURE Q matrices), has been released! pong is freely available and can be installed using the Python package management system pip. For supporting documentation and an example dataset based on the 1000 Genomes, please see the projects subpage or the Ramachandran Lab Data Repository.

Our submitted paper (Behr, Liu, Liu-Fang, Nakka, and Ramachandran) describing pong’s algorithm and comparing it against state-of-the-art methods can be found on bioRxiv. A screenshot of pong’s D3.js visualization is shown below:

Lab attends the Probabilistic Modeling in Genomics meeting at CSHL.    Oct 16, 2015

The entire lab was able to present at the first Probabilistic Modeling in Genomics meeting, held at Cold Spring Harbor in October 2015. Julia’s abstract, entitle ``Inference of population size trajectories with Tajima’s coalescent’’ was selected as one of the 36 talks presented, while Lauren, Priya, and Stephen presented posters and got lots of great feedback. We look forward to next year’s meeting in Oxford, UK!

Here are (L to R) Henn Lab members Meng Lin and Elizabeth, Priya, Raphael Lab member Matt Reyna, Stephen, and Lauren at the lobster banquet!

Palacios et al. is out in the September issue of Genetics.    Sep 9, 2015

Postdoc Julia Palacios’s first paper from the lab is officially out in the September issue of Genetics, available here. The article is highlighted in the issue as well; to find out more, go here.

The Ramachandran Lab represents at SMBE 2015!    Jul 12, 2015

Our work will be presented in a series of sessions at SMBE 2015 in Vienna, Austria:

Longtime collaborator Nicole Creanza will present poster 170C, entitled ``Detailed signatures of human evolutionary history in linguistic and genetic data” (Creanza, Feldman, and Ramachandran). Nicole is also chairing a symposium on cancer as a Darwinian process.

Postdoc Julia Palacios will present poster 545D, entitled ``Sideways demographic inference with Gaussian processes” (Palacios, Wakeley, and Ramachandran).

Shaila Musharoff, graduate student in the Bustamante group at Stanford, is co-advised by Sohini and will present talk 17.9 entitled ``Modeling population size changes leads to accurate inference of sex-biased demographic events” (Musharoff, Shringarpure, Bustamante, and Ramachandran).

Sohini will present postdoc Lauren Alpert Sugden’s work in talk 23.13, entitled ``Novel probabilistically interpretable methods for localizing targets of selective sweeps”.

Looking forward to an exciting and productive meeting!

Sohini is named Manning Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology    Jul 1, 2015

Effective July 1, 2015, Sohini’s title will be the Manning Assistant Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. This endowed assistant professorship provides additional funding for the Ramachandran Lab, and we are grateful for the recognition it brings to the work of the Lab.

Congratulations to our graduates, Aaron Behr '15 and Maya Ramchandran '15!    May 24, 2015

Aaron and Maya have been integral lab members for the past two years and will be receiving their college diplomas on Sunday in Brown’s 247th Commencement Exercises. Maya will receive her Sc.B. in Applied Math-Biology with Honors; her thesis was entitled “Statistical methods to distinguish classic selective sweeps from bottlenecks in genome-wide data”. Aaron will receive his A.B. in Computer Science, and his Sc.B. in Biology with Honors; his thesis was entitled “pong: a network-graphical approach to the inference of population structure”.

We will be miss Aaron and Maya, but luckily they are staying close by! After graduation, Maya will be studying at the New England Conservatory, continuing to develop her amazing talents as a violinist. Aaron will join Oracle’s Big Data Discovery team in Cambridge this July, by which time we plan to have submitted a paper based on his thesis work. Aaron will work in the lab in June and July, along with Gracie and Katie to release pong.

Congratulations, Maya and Aaron!

Summer undergraduate researchers join the lab!    May 12, 2015

Two undergraduates are joining the lab for the summer, and will work on implementing the D3-based visualization of population structure to complete Aaron Behr’s thesis project. We are very excited to welcome Katie Liu (a sophomore at Brown concentrating in Computer Science) and Gracie Fang (a sophomore at Wellesley College concentrating in Computer Science) to the group. Gracie is funded by an REU supplement to our CAREER grant, NSF DBI-1452622.

Here are (L to R) Aaron, Stephen, Katie, Gracie, and Priya at a welcome dinner for our newest members!

Palacios et al. has been posted to biorxiv.    May 12, 2015

Julia’s first paper (Palacios, Wakeley, and Ramachandran: “Bayesian Nonparametric Inference of Population Size Changes from Sequential Genealogies”) has been posted to biorxiv and submitted for peer review. We are excited to share these results with other researchers, and this is our first paper developed under our NSF CAREER proposal.

The link to the paper is here.

Sohini Ramachandran receives an NSF CAREER award.    Feb 11, 2015

SR and the lab have received funding from the National Science Foundation for the next 5 years (2/2015-1/2020) to support our project “CAREER: Next-generation inference of evolutionary parameters from genome-wide sequence data”. The project will lead to the development of a suite of novel statistical and computational methods for inferring detailed evolutionary histories from whole-genomes of multiple individuals. In the immediate future, the grant (totaling $1,029,319) will support postdoc Dr. Julia Palacios and our graduate students. This research will be integrated with an education plan that consists of multiple activities intended to introduce young women in high school to computer science and biology research, a core goal of the Ramachandran lab.

More information about the faculty members at Brown who received early career awards in 2015.

New paper out - A comparison of worldwide phonemic and genetic variation in human populations    Jan 20, 2015

Our paper in collaboration with Merritt Ruhlen, Marcus Feldman, and Noah Rosenberg is out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Find the paper here; press coverage from Brown University (a conversation with SR) is here; and we got press coverage from The Atlantic. Congratulations to all the authors, especially first author Dr. Nicole Creanza!

Dr. Lauren Alpert's talk is accepted at the SMBE Satellite Meeting    Jan 20, 2015

Postdoc Dr. Lauren Alpert has had her talk accepted at the SMBE Satellite Meeting in Hameau de l’etoile, which is near Montpelier, France. The meeting topic is “Investigating biological adaptation with NGS: data and models” and Lauren will be talking about machine learning approaches she has developed for identifying loci under adaptation from genomic data. Congrats, Lauren!

New paper out - Global diversity and risk of human infectious disease outbreaks    Nov 30, 2014

Our paper in collaboration with Kate Smith and CC Chen (with undergraduate coauthors Michael Goldberg and Jane Chen) is out in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. It received press from Yahoo!, Voice of America, New Scientist, International Business Times, Times of India, Journalist’s Resource, and Healio Infectious Disease News. Congratulations to all the authors!

Dr. Julia Palacios wins a prestigious appointment    Sep 4, 2014

Dr. Julia Palacios, a postdoc in the lab, has been named a Candidate [Candidato a Investigador Nacional] by the National System of Researchers of Mexico (SNI) from 01/01/2015-12/31/2017. If Julia becomes a PI in Mexico, her lab will gain additional funds due to this nomination. Congratulations, Julia!

New graduate student Stephen Rong arrives!    Aug 25, 2014

Stephen Rong has just joined the lab as a graduate student. Stephen graduate from Washington University in St. Louis in 2014, and did undergraduate research in the Queller Lab while majoring in both Mathematics and Anthropology. He will be working towards his doctorate in Computational Biology and EEB. Welcome Stephen!

Sohini Ramachandran profiled as part of Brown's 250th Anniversary    Jul 16, 2014

As part of Brown’s 250th Anniversary, many faculty members have been profiled in conversation with Professor Richard Fishman. See Sohini’s conversation with Richard about being a faculty member at Brown here on YouTube.

Dr. Lauren Alpert Sugden joins the lab    Jul 15, 2014

Dr. Lauren Alpert Sugden has joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow. Lauren did her doctoral work with Chip Lawrence at Brown’s Division of Applied Mathematics and graduated this past May. During her dissertation work, she collaborated with Rob Reenan’s lab on modeling RNA editing. She is working on developing a probabilistically interpretable method for detecting selection from genome-wide data. Welcome Lauren!

Aaron Behr's UTRA research begins    Jun 9, 2014

Aaron Behr ‘15 joins the lab starting this summer to develop a computational method that aligns cluster membership inferred by programs like ADMIXTURE across multiple numbers of clusters. Aaron’s work is funded by an UTRA. Welcome Aaron!

SMBE 2014 meeting begins!    Jun 8, 2014

The annual meeting of the Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution has begun, and the Ramachandran Lab is well-represented: SR is co-chairing a symposium entitled “Out of Africa: Humans, commensals, pathogens, oh my!” with collaborator Brenna Henn; Nicole Creanza is presenting work on evolution of language (SR is the senior author); Shaila Musharoff of the Bustamante Lab at Stanford is presenting a poster entitled “A Novel Likelihood Ratio Test for Sex-Biased Demography and the Effect of Cryptic Sex-Bias on the Estimation of Demographic Parameters” (SR is a senior author).

Priya Nakka begins rotation with the Raphael Lab    Jun 1, 2014

As part of her doctoral requirements, Priya is conducting research with Ben Raphael’s Lab this summer, working on applying the method HotNet to common variants. Stay tuned for the results from this collaborative project!

Press in The Scientist and Nature    Jul 1, 2012

The lab and PI receive press in The Scientist (“Scientist to Watch”) and Nature (“Turning Point”).

Professor Ramachandran Named Pew Scholar    Jun 4, 2012

Professor Ramachandran is named a 2012 Pew Scholar, which provides a $240,000 grant to support the lab’s research.

Alyna Khan graduates    May 27, 2012

Alyna Khan, undergraduate member of the lab, graduates from Brown. Alyna’s undergraduate thesis in Biology is entitled “Analysis of linguistic variation as a means of understanding human migration”. Congratulations Alyna!

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