David E. Reich
I do theoretical and experimental work in human population genetics and genomics. The field is moving quickly right now thanks to new genomic technologies, which enable large scale studies of human genetic variation. There is no shortage of data, but there is a shortage of effective methods for analyzing them.
Traditionally, medical geneticists study families with strong disease inheritance patterns to find genes that may be relevant. This has been extremely effective for finding genes for rare diseases. However, genes that predispose us to common diseases have only weak inheritance patterns. An alternative approach is to study associations between human genetic variation and common diseases in many unrelated people. The most effective way to do this is through knowledge of the history of populations, particularly if a population was founded in fairly recent history.
My research program focuses on developing theoretical ideas for studying genome sequence variation and applying them to data we collect in the laboratory specifically to test these ideas. A current focus is finding genes for multiple sclerosis, prostate cancer, and hypertension in African Americans, and Type 2 Diabetes in Latino Americans.
I am looking for extremely motivated graduate students to work on projects in this area and other topics including:
• Analyzing patterns of genetic variation in worldwide populations to understand the history of population expansion, migration, and natural selection.
• Comparing DNA sequence variation in humans to other primates to understand speciation and natural selection
• Understanding what biologically determines the locations of hotspots of recombination in mice and humans
New Research Building, Rm. 260J
77 Avenue Louis Pasteur
Boston, MA 02115