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Current Lab Members


Sohini Ramachandran PI

Sohini Ramachandran joined the faculty of Brown University in July 2010, and was promoted to Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Associate Professor of Computer Science in July 2017. In July 2017, Sohini was also named Director of Brown University's Center for Computational Molecular Biology, after serving as Interim Director from January 2017.
Prior to beginning her faculty appointment at Brown University, Sohini spent 3 years as a Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows and postdoctoral fellow in Professor John Wakeley’s group at the Harvard University Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. She completed her PhD in 2007 with Professor Marcus Feldman at Stanford University’s Department of Biological Sciences.
Photo: Danish Saroee for SCAS

Current CV and Google Scholar citations


Michael Turchin postdoctoral fellow

Michael Turchin received his PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Chicago while working with Matthew Stephens. Michael joined the Ramachandran Lab in October of 2017 and his research interests include human, population, and medical genetics. His current projects include methods development in multi-ethnic GWAS and pathway-based approaches. Michael has also previously worked in the labs of Jonathan Pritchard, Joel Hirschhorn, and Chip Aquadro, and was a NIH NRSA Pre-Doctoral Fellow. For more information, see Michael's professional website.


Katherine Brunson postdoctoral fellow

Katherine Brunson received her doctorate in Anthropology from UCLA in 2015. She is a zooarchaeologist specializing in Chinese archaeology who has participated in numerous archaeological fieldwork projects in China and at the Maya site of Copan, Honduras. Her research focuses on the ritual aspects of animal domestication, the origins of pastoralism in East Asia, ancient DNA, bone artifact production, archaeological collections management, and digital data publishing. She is currently investigating the origins of Chinese domestic cattle and the genetic relationship between domestic cattle and the extinct East Asian wild aurochs, and is working jointly between the Ramachandran and Huerta-Sanchez Labs. In January 2020, Kate will become Assistant Professor of Archaeology at Wesleyan University. For more information, see Kate's professional website.


Gregory Darnell postdoctoral fellow

Gregory Darnell completed his PhD in Quantitative and Computational Biology at Princeton University in 2019 under the mentorship of Professor Barbara Engelhardt. Greg's research interests within statistical genetics include creating machine learning algorithms for understanding the genetic basis of disease. He has developed both Bayesian and deep learning based methods for scaling and adapting traditional genetic association study techniques to high-dimensional traits. Starting September 2019, Greg will be working in the both the Ramachandran lab and the Crawford lab, and will be at ICERM from September 2019 to May 2020 as an Institute Postdoctoral Fellow. For more information, see Greg's professional website.


Sahar Shahamatdar graduate student

Sahar Shahamatdar graduated from Brown in 2013 with an Sc.B. in Materials Science Engineering. Sahar is an MD-PhD student at Brown's Alpert Medical School, and joined the Ramachandran lab in May 2017. She is currently working on identifying germline variants that contribute to immune infiltration in tumors.


Sam Smith graduate student

Sam Smith majored in Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology at Vanderbilt University and joined the Computational Biology PhD program, and the Ramachandran Lab, in June 2017. Sam is working on developing methods for multiethnic genome-wide association studies, and for identifying shared gene subnetworks underlying multiple complex traits.


Wei Cheng graduate student

Wei Cheng graduated from Cornell University where he studied bioinformatics in Andy Clark’s lab. He is interested in studying statistical theory, and in developing computational methods for characterizing evolutionary processes using genomic data. He is currently working on developing statistics for measuring gene effect size.


Kaileigh Ahlquist graduate student

Kaileigh Ahlquist received an MS from Cornell University in Plant Breeding and Genetics, studying the evolution of the MYB transcription factor family in crop species in the lab of Walter De Jong. Prior to that, Kaileigh received a BS from Reed College in Biology. Kaileigh's current focus in the Ramachandran lab is understanding and detecting balancing selection.


Elsie Gibson graduate student

Elsie graduated from Harvey Mudd College in 2015 with a B.S. in Mathematical and Computational Biology, where she worked with Lauren Chan. Prior to joining the Ramachandran Lab during Fall 2019, Elsie worked as an ORISE intern at the Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit, and as a Research Technician and Laboratory Manager in Adam Kepecs' systems neuroscience lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. She is interested in population genetic inference.


Joseph Paik '20 undergraduate student

Joseph is a senior at Brown pursuing degrees in computer science and business economics. His current work in the lab is in collaboration with Kaileigh Ahlquist, and is focused on improving and adding new features to SWIF(r), which is the lab's open-source software for detecting adaptive mutations in population genomic data.


Former Lab Members

Julia Palacios

Postdoc (2013-2016) -> Assistant Professor at Stanford University, Statistics and Biomedical Data Science.

Lauren Alpert Sugden

Postdoc (2014-2019) -> Assistant Professor of Statistics at Duquesne University, Mathematics and Computer Science.

Priyanka (Priya) Nakka

Grad student (2013-2018) -> Postdoc in the Hirschhorn Lab at Boston Children's Hospital, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and Harvard Medical School.

Stephen Rong

Grad student (2014-2017) -> Fairbrother Lab in Computational Biology and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry.

Elijah Carrel '18

researcher focused on incorporating additional visualizations into pong (2017-2018); AB in Computer Science -> Software Engineer at Grail in Menlo Park, CA.

Akshay Walia

research assistant (2012-2014) -> Schurr lab at Penn (PhD student).

Aaron Behr '15

UTRA (2014) and thesis student (2015); AB in Computer Science and ScB in Biology (2015); Brown's Kidwell Prize in Genetics and Population Biology (2015) -> Oracle's Big Data Discovery team in Cambridge.

Gracie Liu-Fang '17

funded through an REU supplement to NSF CAREER DBI-1452622 (summer 2015); Computer Science major and Italian Studies minor, Wellesley College '17.

Katie Liu '17

coauthor on pong; funded by Brown University, CCMB, an UTRA (summer 2016), and an REU supplement to NSF CAREER DBI-1452622 (summer 2016); ScB in Computer Science and Religious Studies (2017) -> Microsoft, Seattle as a software engineer on the Shell Team of the Windows and Devices group (summer 2017 - present).

Tyler Dae Devlin '17

researcher during summer 2016-summer 2017, funded by a Summer Research Assistantship under Brown's Program in Liberal Medical Education and NSF CAREER DBI-1452622 -> Class of 2017 Senior Prize in Biology, ScB in Applied Mathematics-Biology -> Software Engineer at Yelp.com, on Yelp’s Messaging Intelligence team.

Annie Fischer '17

Capstone project (Fall 2016) -> technology group at Capital One, Washington DC.

Lilla Sai-Halasz

high school researcher (2012-2014) -> Emory University '18.

Michael Goldberg '13

UTRA (2012) and thesis student (2013); ScB in Biology (2013) -> Fulbright Scholar in Montpelier, France (2013-2014) -> Clinical Data Analyst with Foundation Medicine, Boston MA (09/2014-08/2017) -> PhD student, Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle (09/2017 - present).

Alyna Khan '12

UTRA (2011) and thesis student (2012); AB in Classics and ScB in Biology (2012) -> Simons Fellow in Computational Neuroscience at the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, GA (2012-2014).

Maya Ramchandran '15

UTRA (2013) and thesis student (2015); ScB in Applied Mathematics - Biology (2015) -> New England Conservatory of Music (Masters in Violin performance received spring 2017) -> PhD student, Biostatistics, Harvard University (09/2017 - present).

Natalie Van Houten '14

UTRA (2013).


Collaborators

Lorin Crawford

The Crawford Lab at Brown University is in the Department of Biostatistics, and develops methods to address problems in quantitative genetics and cancer biology. We collaborate on developing model-based approaches to detect genomic interactions underlying complex traits, at a variety of genomic scales.

Brenna M. Henn

The Henn Lab at the University of California, Davis investigates patterns of human genetic diversity and evolution by pairing genomic datasets with phenotypic, linguistic, and prehistoric information. We are collaborating on applications of our new selection detection methods to African population genomic data and functional genomic data.

Emilia Huerta-Sanchez

The Huerta-Sanchez Lab at Brown University is in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Center for Computational Molecular Biology, and focuses on theoretical population genetics and the integrated analysis of modern and ancient genomes. We collaborate on the development and application of new coalescent-based methods for inference of population histories using ancient and extant DNA.

Benjamin J. Raphael

The Raphael Lab at Princeton University focuses on cancer genomics. We are collaborating on methods for identifying pathways underlying common diseases using germline genetic data from cases and controls.

Noah A. Rosenberg

The Rosenberg lab at Stanford University has been a longtime collaborator with our group in studies of human population structure.

Bjorn Sandstede

The Sandstede group at Brown University is in the Division of Applied Mathematics, and focuses on dynamical systems and the topology of high-dimensional datasets. We are collaborating on developing new methods to identify human phenotypes that share a core set of mutated genes in large genome-wide association datasets.

Eliezer Van Allen

The Van Allen lab at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute drives precision cancer medicine through clinical computational oncology. We collaborate on the integrated analysis of germline and somatic data to test for predisposition to immune infiltrate in cancers.

Jun J. Yang

Dr. Yang is on the faculty at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Our collaboration centers around characterizing the evolutionary history of mutations associated with incidence and treatment outcome in acute lymphoblastic leukemia.


Joining the Ramachandran Lab

Postdoctoral Fellows

There are positions available for postdoctoral fellows to join the lab. Applicants must have a background in theoretical population genetics with experience analyzing data, or a quantitative background (e.g., statistics, computer science) with a desire to do research in genetics and evolutionary biology. Programming skills and proficiency in Unix-based computing environments are very desirable. Successful candidates may develop projects related to any of the lab’s research topics, or propose new projects related to the lab's interests.

Informal inquiries as well as applications (consisting of a CV, copies of relevant publications, and contact information for at least two references) should be emailed to Sohini Ramachandran.

Graduate Students

The Ramachandran lab is recruiting prospective PhD students via the doctoral programs in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Computational Biology, and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry. For information, see the doctoral program pages and email Sohini Ramachandran.

Undergraduates

Undergraduates interested in pursuing research in the lab should ideally have taken at least one semester of programming (e.g. CS150 or CS170) at Brown; familiarity with Unix utilities, Perl, and/or R is a plus. Email Sohini Ramachandran about joining the lab, and also note that UTRA can fund undergraduate researchers for a semester or the summer.