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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

Mary Lauren Benton (QCB), Summer 2016 – Present

Mary Lauren is a graduate student in the QCB program. 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.





Alexandra Fish (Human Genetics), Summer 2012 – Present
Alex’s research focuses on identifying  genetic variants that regulate gene expression levels, with an emphasis on both long-range regulation and interactions between variants.  She graduated with a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill.


Corinne Simonti (Human Genetics), Summer 2013 – Present
Corinne Simonti is a graduate student in the Human Genetics program at Vanderbilt University. Her primary interests lie in 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.



Mike Sivley (Biomedical Informatics), Summer 2013 – Present
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 current research explores protein structural mapping and analysis of genetic variation, with an emphasis on ocular genomics. His general research interests include machine learning, genetics, and bioinformatics.



Xiaoyi Dou, Undergrad Intern, Summer 2016–

  • Xiaoyi is a computer science major at Vanderbilt University. He is working on methods for integrating genetic data into protein structures.

Joanna Zhang, Undergrad Intern, Summer 2015–

  • Joanna is a math major at Vanderbilt University. She is working on testing for accelerated evolution in gene regulatory regions.

Lab Alumni

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.