Our research group typically applies omics data to address questions Population, medical, and evolutionary questions. Our research is purely computational, but we collaborate extensively and internationally with wet labs around the world. Our research resulted in high impact publications and commercial spin-offs.
The main purpose of this project is to understand how genomes are organized and why they are organized in that manner. We apply computational tools to derive a description of genomes and use comparative analysis techniques to evaluate evolutionary hypotheses. This work resulted in over a dozen high impact publications including five Nature/Science articles.
We are part of a global consortium that aims to characterize the microbiota and metagenome of urban environments and transit systems. As the analytical center, we aim to study microbial biodiversity and develop forensic tools that would allow localization of individuals based on their bacteria.
Much like the microbiome of the built environment, soil microbiome also has unique characteristics and is subjected to environmental conditions. Here, we ask what can we learn from these data in relation to biodiversity, migration, and antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics.
We are working on two related problems - time and space or when and where. When: Radiocarbon dating is the gold-standard in archaeology to estimate the age of skeletons, a key to studying their origins, yet half of all published ancient human genomes lack reliable and direct dates. We aim to develop computational models and tools that would allow to date genomes and study their origins.
Where: Knowledge of ancestry and migration routes is central to the study of ancient populations. We ask questions such as: can we predict the geographical origin of species based on their DNA? Can we construct their migration route over time using ancient DNA? Can we use this information to improve clinical predictions? How did populations arrive at where they currently reside?
Yielding accurate biogeographical predictions is essential to studies of population structure, biodiversity, epidemiology, and many other fields of science like history and archeology. Our lab specialized in developing biogeographical tests that can predict geographical origins with high accuracy and applying them to various populations to study their ancestry or use this information to improve the accuracy of medical studies.
Heritable changes in gene expression due to mechanisms other than mutations in DNA sequence are termed "epigenetics." These changes are of vast importance to human medical and disease studies as well as to understand the regulation of gene expression in animals and plants. We are interested in studying the role of methylation on behavior, disease, and phenotypes that reflect environmental changes.
We are developing methods to improve the accuracy of association tests of complex disorders (including mental disorders and cancer) as well as developing new approaches and models to understand the etiology of these diseases. Projects – Bipolar disorder, Autism spectrum disorders, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and Cancer.
Where and when did humans develop? How did they spread around the world? Did the interbreed with Neanderthals and other hominins? What was the genomic legacy of these hominins to our ancestors and ourselves? We aim to develop methods and address some of these questions.
PM is the premise that an individual's unique physiologic characteristics play a significant role in both disease vulnerability and response to therapies. The major goals of PM are to predict susceptibility to developing illnesses, achieve accurate diagnoses, and to predict the response to treatment. A major component of PM is ancestry, which can help us understand the genetic variation among individuals. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop an alternative framework to define ancestry and handle the complexity of such individualized approaches to therapy.
In developed countries, over 50% of crimes remain unresolved. While this may be due to a complete lack of evidence in many cases, the evidence cannot be interpreted in the absence of better technologies. In collaboration with several crime labs around the world, we aim to develop DNA intelligence tools that would gain further insights and help resolve crimes.