Celebrating Ravneet’s thesis defense.

Principal Investigator

Susanne P. Pfeifer

Susanne earned her DPhil in Statistics at the University of Oxford (UK) in 2013 advised by Gil McVean, working on the statistical challenges involved in the estimation of variation in mutation and recombination rates from high throughput sequencing data, with direct applications to primate population genetics in a collaboration with Molly Przeworski’s Lab at the University of Chicago and Peter Donnelly’s Lab at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford. She went on to do her postdoc work as a Vienna International Postdoctoral Program (VIPS) fellow at the Center for Integrative Bioinformatics Vienna (Austria). As a research associate at EPFL (Switzerland), she focused on the evolution of cryptic coloration in wild populations of mice (in collaboration with the Hoekstra Lab, Harvard) and lizards (in collaboration with the Rosenblum Lab, Berkeley). Susanne founded the Pfeifer Lab as an Assistant Professor in the School of Life Sciences at ASU in 2017. In 2023, she was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.  googlescholar   pubmed

Graduate Students

Abigail A. Howell

Abigail earned her B.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences at Arizona State University funded by the New American University Scholarship President’s Award. During her undergraduate research in the Cartwright Lab, she studied mutation accumulation in ciliates and the compression of genomic datasets. In the Pfeifer Lab, Abigail’s research focuses on the evolutionary genomics of bacteriophages and cytomegalovirus.

Mark R. Milhaven

Mark earned his B.Sc. in Quantitative Biology and Bioinformatics at Stony Brook University funded by a New York State STEM scholarship. During his undergraduate, he worked in the Veeramah Lab focusing on questions centered on lineage-specific transposable elements in gibbons. In the Pfeifer Lab, Mark’s research focuses on the detection of de novo mutations from high-throughput sequencing data.

Cyril J.F. Versoza

Cyril earned his B.Sc. in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines, where he was a College and University Scholar. His thesis work in the Lazaro Lab focused on the identification of candidate molecular drug targets of antibiotics via comparative genomics of sensitive and mutant strains. In the Pfeifer Lab, Cyril is investigating the genetic determinants that affect broad- and fine-scale recombination rates in primates and other vertebrates.

Post-Bac Student

Makena Sy

Makena is a MSc student in Bioinformatics whose research focuses on the population genomics of non-human primates.

Lab Dogs

Aldo & Finn


João Santos (2019-2020) – João earned his B.Sc. in Biology and M.Sc. in Evolutionary Biology at the University of Lisbon (Portugal), studying the dispersal dynamics of endangered species. He earned his Ph.D. in Population Genetics at CIRAD in Montpellier (France) where he studied the impact of hybridization in rice. His postdoc work in the Pfeifer Lab focused upon the impact of sample size and population history on mutational spectra. pubmed github

Lucy A.P. Tran (2018-2019) – Lucy earned her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan advised by Lacey Knowles. The main focus of her work as a NSF Predoctoral Fellow involved the biotic and abiotic factors influencing diversification of herbivorous mammals. Lucy was a NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in the Rosenblum Lab at UC Berkeley, where she was working toward a general understanding of the genotypic-phenotypic axes of divergence during colonization of new environments. Her postdoc work in the Pfeifer Lab focused upon germline mutation rates in Old World monkeys. pubmed

Mario A. Apata (2018-2020) – Mario earned his B.A. in Anthropology and MS in Biological Science at the University of Chile, funded by the national Bicentenario and Conicyt scholarships, respectively. His thesis work in the Moraga Lab centered on the genetic and cultural diversity of Chilean populations, followed by a research abroad fellowship in Anna Di Rienzo’s Lab at the University of Chicago. Mario’s work, funded by a Fulbright-Conicyt BIO scholarship, investigated the evolutionary and selective forces that shaped the genomes of Andean populations historically exposed to arsenic water in the Atacama desert.

Sarah Weiss (2020-2023) – Sarah’s honors thesis focused on recombination rate estimation in rhesus macaques. For her academic excellence, Sarah was awarded the 2023 Dean’s Medal.

Maria Kowal (2022-2023) – Maria’s honors thesis focused on explaining the evolution and genetics of bacteriophages to K12 students. Additional details can be found on her website.

Ravneet Johal (2020-2022) – Ravneet’s honors thesis focused on the estimation of crossover rates from pedigree data.

Sydney Fikse (2019-2020) (co-advised by Beckett Sterner) – Sydney’s honors thesis focused on anthropogenic factors that have impacted animal evolution. Additional details can be found on her website.

Undergraduate (Research): Jillian Murray (2022-2023); Jueliet Menolascino (2021-2022); Tiana Hua (2021); Daniel Kelly (2021); Daniel Sackett (2021); Sage Wackett (2021); Aman Garg (2020-2022); Bruno La Rosa (2020-2022); Samantha Sabbara (2020-2021); Minerva So (2020-2023)

Undergraduate (Laboratory Asst.): Madison Blanco (2022); Aman Garg (2022); Jackelyn Lobatos (2022); Corinne Mitra (2022); Maria Strasser (2022); Saige Munig (2022); Zeel Patel (2022); Minerva So (2022); Makena Sy (2022); Sarah Weiss (2022); Rithik Mehta (2021); Daniel Sackett (2021); Garett Maag (2020); Angelica Urquidez Negrete (2020); Jade Porche (2020)

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