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Principal Investigator

Tony Capra (aka John Capra)
CV, Google Scholar
Tony Capra is an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Vanderbilt University. His group uses the tools of computer science and statistics to address problems in genetics, evolution, and biomedicine. He received his PhD in computer science from Princeton University and completed a postdoc in the Gladstone Institutes at UCSF.



David Rinker, January 2016 – Present
David received his PhD in Genetics from Vanderbilt in 2015. His interests center around functional genomics, with a particular interest in exploring the relationship between gene regulation and phenotype. David’s previous research spanned both arthropod and fungal genomics, and he remains interested in placing genomic inquiries within the larger framework of comparative evolutionary biology.


Greg Sliwoski, July 2016 – Present
Greg received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Leipzig in Germany. He is primarily interested in exploring computational techniques that incorporate protein structure prediction into variant effect prediction. His research goals include improving rare variant analysis with structural modeling and applying these methods to personalized medicine and drug discovery. His previous research topics include computer-aided drug discovery, GPCR structure prediction and ligand docking, and QSAR descriptor development. Other interests include neuroscience and music.

PhD Students

Abin Abraham (MSTP), Fall 2017 – Present

Abin is a MD/PhD student in the Human Genetics program. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.S.E in Biomedical Engineering.




Mary Lauren Benton (DBMI), Summer 2016 – Present

Mary Lauren is a graduate student in the BIDS program in the Department of Biomedical Informatics. She graduated with a B.S. in Bioinformatics from Baylor University.




Ling Chen (Biological Sciences), Summer 2014 – Present
Ling is a graduate student in the Biological Sciences program. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Nankai University. She is interested in exploring regulatory regions in the genome and epigenetic dynamics.



Laura Colbran (Human Genetics), Summer 2016 – Present

Laura is a graduate student in the Human Genetics program. She graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Carleton College.





Sarah Fong (Human Genetics), Summer 2018 – Present

Sarah graduated from University of California Berkeley with a B.A. in Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is interested in the evolution of regulatory elements and its role directing cell fates. Previously, she researched stem cell differentiation for the development of cancer therapeutics in San Francisco.



Evonne McArthur (MSTP/Human Genetics), Fall 2018 – Present

Evonne is a MD/PhD student in the Human Genetics program. She is interested in the role of structural and regulatory element variation in risk for both rare and common diseases. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.S. in Quantitative Biology.




Souhrid Mukherjee (Biological Sciences), Summer 2017 – Present

Souhrid is a graduate student in the Biological Science program. He is interested in personalized structural biology, systems biology and the role of protein-protein interactions in human diseases. He holds a B.S and M.S in Biochemistry, from the University of Calcutta, India.




Keila Velázquez-Arcelay (Biological Sciences), Summer 2018 – Present

Keila is a graduate student in the Biological Sciences program. She is interested in ancient genomics, population genetics, ancient introgression (e.g., Neanderthals, Denisovans), and elucidating the evolutionary/adaptive history of humans and associated species. She graduated with a B.S. in Biotechnology from Universidad del Este.




Kevin Zhang, Undergrad Intern, Summer 2018

Lab Alumni

Graduate Students

Alexandra Fish (Human Genetics), Summer 2012 – Spring 2017
Alex’s PhD research focused on identifying  genetic variants that regulate gene expression levels, with an emphasis on both long-range regulation and interactions between variants.  She has a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Current Position: Scientist, Genomics PLC, Oxford, UK


Corinne Simonti (Human Genetics), Summer 2013 – Spring 2017
Corinne Simonti completed her PhD in the Human Genetics program at Vanderbilt University in 2017. Her primary research focused on determining the genetic basis of the phenotypic differences between humans and archaic hominins. She graduated with a B.S. in Genetics from the University of Georgia in 2012.
Current Position: Postdoc, Lachance Lab, Georgia Tech


Mike Sivley (Biomedical Informatics), Summer 2013 – Winter 2017
Mike holds a BS and MS in Computer Science. His masters thesis focused on clustering rare genetic variation to improve statistical power for association studies. His PhD research developed analysis strategies for genetic variation in the context of protein structures and biobank data.
Current Position: Scientist, Genomics PLC, Oxford, UK



Daniel Yan, Undergrad Intern, Summer 2018

Xiaoyi Dou, Undergrad Intern, Summer 2016 – Spring 2017, Summer 2018

Chantay Young, Undergrad Intern, Summer 2017

Joanna Zhang, Undergrad Intern, Summer 2015 – Spring 2017


Shahrukh Malik (COMSATS Institute of Information Technology), Undergrad Intern, Summer 2016

Zubia Shahid (University of the Sciences), Intern, Summer 2015

Laura Colbran (Carleton College), Undergrad Intern, Summer 2014. Laura is now a graduate student at Vanderbilt.

Vir Patel (Western Kentucky University), Undergrad Intern, Summer 2014. Vir is now an undergrad at Duke.