Shamil Sunyaev, Ph.D. is a Professor of Medicine and Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School and a Research Geneticist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. He holds a Distinguished Chair of Computational Genomics. He is also an Associate Member at Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Shamil is a computational geneticist interested in many aspects of genetic variation from the evolutionary, functional and medical genetics perspectives. Population genetics of human deleterious alleles has been one of his major interests. He also develops computational and statistical methods for sequencing studies and methods that use comparative genomics and protein structure to predict the functional effect of mutations.


Ivan Adzhubey, Ph.D. is an Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Geneticist at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Ivan helps develop PolyPhen-2, a tool for annotating coding nonsynonymous SNPs, which includes a high quality multiple sequence alignment pipeline and probabilistic classifier based on machine-learning method that is optimized for high-throughput analysis of the next-generation sequencing data.

Daniel Balick, Ph.D. is an Instructor in the Division of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School, an Associate Geneticist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and a Visiting Researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He earned is doctorate in theoretical physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara under the guidance of Boris Shraiman at the KITP. Dan is interested in the mathematical modeling of non-equilibrium phenomena in population genetics and in the nature and evolution of genetic dominance. His recent work focuses on the development of statistical methods to infer recessive purifying selection from natural population data, modeling transient allele frequency dynamics in population genetics, and the evolutionary impact of genetic dominance on human orthologs in divergent species. Resources relevant to Dan's research can be found here.

Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Sebastian Akle, Ph.D. graduated from Harvard University and did his PhD research in this same lab! He is interested in Statistical genetics and Population genetics. His research involves QTL mapping in zebrafish, algorithms to parse NGS data and the analysis of pleiotropy in human GWAS.

Felix Dietlein, MD, Ph.D. received his MD/PhD from the University of Cologne in Germany and relocated to Boston in 2016. Current interests involve clinical interpretation of tumor sequencing data, modeling of mutational signatures and identification of driver genes.

Evan Koch, Ph.D. completed his PhD working in the laboratory of John Novembre at the University of Chicago where he studied the population genetic impacts of nonequilibrium demography and the mutation rate in wolves. In the Sunyaev lab, Evan works on statistical methods to infer the impact that natural selection has had on polygenic traits, the twilight zone between monogenic and polygenic diseases, and efforts to describe the residual variance in the human mutation rate along the genome. To learn more please Click here.

Ryan McGinty, Ph.D. received his PhD from Tufts University in the laboratory of Sergei Mirkin, studying microsatellite repeat expansion and complex genomic rearrangements. Current interests involve combining computational and experimental approaches to uncover mechanisms of mutagenesis in humans, especially those involving unusual DNA secondary structures.

Becky Reimers, M.D., M.P.H. is a current fourth year Maternal Fetal Medicine and Clinical Genetics fellow in the combined program through Brigham and Women's and Boston Children's Hospitals. She is a practicing obstetrician and has a background in public health with a concentration in epidemiology. Her computational genetics focus is on rare Mendelian disease diagnosis and gene discovery and she has a special place in her heart for congenital anomalies and embryology. She is collaborating with Shamil and Shilpa Kobren on the Undiagnosed Disease Network harmonized data set by doing clinical review and variant interpretation. She loves yoga, calendar time-blocking, stationary, traveling, ultrasound, and positive psychology books.

Sumaiya Nazeen, Ph.D. is a postdoctoral research fellow with a joint appointment between Sunyaev and Khurana labs. She obtained her Ph.D. in Computer Science at MIT under the supervision of Prof. Bonnie Berger. Her research focuses on the development of computational and statistical models for the interpretation of the genetic foundation of complex human diseases. Her current projects include network-based rare variant analysis, patient stratification, and biomarker discovery for Lewy body pathologies.

Vladmir Seplyarskiy, Ph.D. graduated from Moscow State University and did his PhD research in Georgii Bazykin's lab at IITP. Vladimir is interested in mutational patterns and underlying biological mechanisms. He is trying to measure DNA repair preferences by comparing mutational profiles between cancers with very specific deficiencies in repair or replication. Current projects also include characterization of sources for heritable mutations and investigation of evolution of mutation rates.

Graduate Students

Noah Connally is PhD student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program. His work examines variants that are pleiotropic for Mendelian and complex diseases, and how complex traits can be used to prioritize candidate Mendelian mutations.

David Radke is a PhD student in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) program at Harvard Medical School. He is interested broadly in human evolution and specifically in how genomic structural variants (such as CNVs and indels, among others) helped shape modern human uniqueness. He combines population genetics and comparative genomics to assess the role of structural variants in both modern human and archaic populations.

Rotation Students

Arya Kaul is currently pursuing a PhD in Bioinformatics and Genomics through the Harvard Medical School's BIG program. He completed his undergraduate education at the University of California, San Diego, where he majored in Bioengineering: Bioinformatics. He was heavily involved with the Undergraduate Bioinformatics Club and Lab Expo. His interest is in applying computational and mathematical methodologies to lend insight into interesting biological questions. My rotation projects involving investigating gain of function splice site mutations through NovaSplice.

Administrative Coordinator

Faith McDonald

Department of Biomedical Informatics | Harvard Medical School
695 Huntington Ave, Suite 514
Boston, MA 02115
Phone: 917-756-7802 

Former Lab Members