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IRACDA Scholar: Elizabeth G. Atkinson, Ph.D.

Elizabeth G. Atkinson Elizabeth.Atkinsin

Education:  PhD in Evolution, Ecology, and Population Biology from Washington University
Current/NY-CAPS Placement: Department of Ecology & Evolution
NY-CAPS Research Mentor: Dr. Brenna Henn


In her recently completed (Jan, 2014) PhD at the Washington University in St. Louis medical school, Elizabeth conducted an interdisciplinary project examining the genetic architecture and evolvability of brain traits in primates. She utilized quantitative genetic tools and QTL mapping to isolate the genomic regions that affect variation in gyrification (the folding pattern of the cerebral cortex) and characterized its modularity structure in a number of biological domains: genetics, development, anatomy, and functional connectivity. Joining the Henn lab as an IRACDA Fellow, Elizabeth will be working on biomedical and evolution-oriented projects utilizing the lab's extensive dataset from the African Genome Variation Project. Her work will focus on identifying genetic variants associated with disease risk in African populations, investigating the evolutionary history of these risk alleles, and employing quantitative and population genetics on this genome pool with the goals of designing a SNP chip tailored for African DNA and improving sequencing methods for human groups that are underrepresented in medical studies.

Why I chose to join IRACDA NY-CAPS

I chose to join the IRACDA NY-CAPS program because I am passionate about science communication and engaging underrepresented groups in the sciences and was excited at the prospect of merging a stellar research postdoc experience with a structured pedagogy and professional development track.


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