Rick Myers
Rick Myers

Richard M. Myers, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, University of California Berkeley

Genomic and genetic analysis of human traits and diseases.

The Myers laboratory studies how variation in our genes contributes to traits in humans. Lab members are interested in DNA sequence variation that people are born with or acquire, as well as in variation in when, where and how much genes are expressed. The lab measures this variation by developing and applying very high-throughput DNA sequencing and other genomic methods on a genome-wide scale, and using computational, statistical and other analysis tools to extract biological meaning from the large datasets that are generated. The lab applies these approaches to a wide variety of traits, including several cancers, childhood genetic disorders, psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, and diseases of the immune system, as well as to differential responses to drugs and other environmental exposures.
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Devin Absher
Devin Absher

Devin Absher, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Emory University

Epigenomic analysis of cancer, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular disease, psychiatric disorders and aging

The focus of research in the Absher lab is on the application of genomics to complex diseases and traits. This has included genome-wide association studies, and more recently epigenetic studies. The lab’s projects include multiple studies of autoimmune diseases (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis), cardiovascular disease and the dietary and metabolic risk factors for heart disease. The lab also has a keen interest in aging and the effects of aging on the epigenome, as well as projects on cancer epigenetics.
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Greg Barsh
Greg Barsh

Greg Barsh, M.D., Ph.D.

M.D. and Ph.D. in pathology, University of Washington, Seattle

Genetic architecture of morphologic variation

The Barsh lab studies genetic mechanisms that underlie differences in individual appearance. Height, weight, pigmentation, and facial appearance are characteristics in which genes play a dominant role, both within and between species, and in which a deeper understanding of the mechanisms promises both new insight into both basic biology and human disease. Many differences in appearance, like skin color in humans, or camouflage coloration in zebras, are the products of natural selection, so identifying and studying the genes responsible for those differences is an opportunity to learn more about mammalian evolution. Finally, periodic color patterns–stripes on zebras, or spots on cheetahs–are an unsolved mystery whose investigation promises to reveal new biological pathways and principles.
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Greg Cooper, Ph.D.

Greg Cooper
Greg Cooper

Ph.D. in Genetics, Stanford University

Human Genetics and Genomics

Greg Cooper is a computational biologist interested in identifying and characterizing the ways in which variation in DNA shapes people’s lives; he has a particular interest in genomic diagnoses for children with intellectual disability and developmental delay. He received a B.A. in Microbiology, a B.S. in Mathematics and Statistics from Miami University, and a Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford University in 2006. He then conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Washington before moving to HudsonAlpha as a Faculty Investigator in September 2010. Throughout his career, he has focused on understanding the structures, functions, and evolutionary histories of individual human genomes, and finding ways to translate that understanding into useful predictions about human health and disease.
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Sara Cooper, Ph.D.

Sara Cooper
Sara Cooper

Ph.D. in Genetics, Stanford University

Metabolomics

The Sara Cooper lab is focused on developing technologies in metabolomics and genomics and applying them to human problems. The lab is developing metabolomics methods and analysis tools using yeast. It is also using this model to explore the effects of mutations in genes encoding ribosomal proteins that make humans susceptible to inherited forms of anemia. Another area of interest is applying the methods developed in yeast to human diseases. One current project seeks to identify metabolite signatures in cancer, which may be useful as diagnostic or prognostic markers. Lastly, the lab has begun exploring bacterial genomes and trying to identify bacterial pathways that could be useful for safely breaking down pollutants. While the lab is interested in a diverse set of biological problems, it aims to use common tools, metabolomics and genomics, to solve the problems.
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Jane Grimwood, Ph.D.

Jane Grimwood
Jane Grimwood

Ph.D. in Microbiology, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Genomic resource development for plants

The HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center produces DNA sequences and other genomic resources for plants that can then be utilized by the wider scientific community to enable downstream scientific discoveries. As a partner with the Joint Genome Institute, the center’s current research is directed at advances that benefit the research areas of bioenergy and global carbon cycling. Sequence data produced at HudsonAlpha, in collaboration with multiple plant research communities and plant breeders, will be applied to the problems of reducing the U.S. dependency on imported oil by improving biomass, improving plant drought tolerance, modifying cell wall composition to improve access to sugars and by decreasing the length of time to domesticate a plant for modern agricultural processes. The center runs a highly automated sequencing laboratory, with three sequencing platforms and numerous other robotic instruments and specializes in plant whole genome assembly and genome improvement or finishing, utilizing new, lower cost sequencing technologies.
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Jian Han, M.D., Ph.D.

Jian Han
Jian Han

M.D., SuZhou Medical College, China; Ph.D. University of Alabama at Birmingham

Technology development to advance medical science

The Han lab has developed two multiplex PCR technologies, temPCR and armPCR, that allows many gene targets to be co-amplified in one reaction. It has also developed software tools (iC-architect) and a hardware platform (iCubate) that allow others to develop their own Apps. One of the most exciting uses of these tools is to amplify immune repertoire (rearranged VDJ genes from T and B cells) for next generation sequencing. To facilitate these technologies’ adoption, the lab has spun out two companies, iCubate and iRepertoire. iCubate manufactures the hardware platform and developing applications mainly for infectious diseases diagnosis. iRepertoire is helping scientists learn, from the human immune system, how to diagnose and treat diseases. An international collaboration project, the R10K project was launched by HudsonAlpha with iRepertoire to study 10,000 samples comprising 100 diseases for biomarker discoveries.
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Neil Lamb, Ph.D.

Neil Lamb
Neil Lamb

Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology, Emory University

Educational outreach relating to genetics, genomics and biotechnology

The Educational Outreach team at HudsonAlpha prepares the future biotechnology workforce and cultivates genetic literacy for all citizens. The team strives to create engaging experiences that minimize barriers to access for students, educators and the public. Its educational pathway deliberately reaches across the human lifespan. Hands-on experiences for young children open the door to early engagement, while middle and high school activities link classroom content to real-world situations of health and disease. Summer camps and internship programs introduce students to more advanced content and career profiles. HudsonAlpha scientists lead college courses through university collaborations. Online educational resources and learning apps for mobile devices allow efforts to reach distant audiences. Lastly, the adult community connects to biotechnology with an ongoing series of presentations, tours and workshops, embracing the value of life-long learning.
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Shawn Levy, Ph.D.

Shawn Levy
Shawn Levy

Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Emory University

Technology development and automation, informatics, genomic variation

Upon his arrival at HudsonAlpha in 2009, Shawn Levy set up the HudsonAlpha Genomic Services Laboratory which supports projects using genomic technologies from laboratories around the world. Since its inception, the CLIA-certified Genomics Services Laboratory has supported more than 1,100 projects and more than 30,000 samples. Prior to joining HudsonAlpha, Levy was founding director of the Vanderbilt Microarray Shared Resource and was responsible for growing it from a small microarray core facility to a world-renowned genomics center. Before that, Levy set up a microarray facility at the Emory Center for Molecular Medicine, where he received his graduate and postdoctoral training. Levy has a great interest in technology development and optimization, which led to the invention of an easy and efficient method for multiplexing more than 700,000 samples per sequencing lane on the Illumina sequencing platform.
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Jeremy Schmutz

Jeremy Schmutz
Jeremy Schmutz

B.S. in computer science, B.S. in biology, North Central College

Whole genome sequencing and assembly, population genomics

The HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center produces DNA sequences and other genomic resources for plants that can then be utilized by the wider scientific community to enable downstream scientific discoveries. As a partner with the Joint Genome Institute, the center’s current research is directed at advances that benefit the research areas of bioenergy and global carbon cycling. Sequence data produced at HudsonAlpha, in collaboration with multiple plant research communities and plant breeders, will be applied to the problems of reducing the U.S. dependency on imported oil by improving biomass, improving plant drought tolerance, modifying cell wall composition to improve access to sugars and by decreasing the length of time to domesticate a plant for modern agricultural processes. The center runs a highly automated sequencing laboratory, with three sequencing platforms and numerous other robotic instruments and specializes in plant whole genome assembly and genome improvement or finishing, utilizing new, lower cost sequencing technologies.
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Eric Mendenhall, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Minnesota

Function of regulatory regions of genome in human genome and human genetic diseases

The Mendenhall lab works to define the function of the regulatory or non-coding regions of the genome. These regions control how genes are turned on or off in the appropriate cells of our bodies. The lab focuses on developing methods to define what determines a functional regulatory region, investigating how the DNA sequence establishes these regions and understanding how variation in human DNA can alter this regulation to produce human traits and human genetic diseases. This requires the lab to develop and use specific synthetic biology tools, including customizable DNA binding proteins (TALEs and Crispr/Cas), synthetic DNA libraries and next-generation sequencing to assign biological functions to non-coding regions of the genome.