Julie Granka

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki


Hi everyone! My name is Julie, and I’m a second year Ph.D. student in Biology in Marc Feldman’s lab at Stanford University. I’m also working towards my Masters in Statistics.

I am broadly interested in population genetics and the analysis of genetic data, both in the inference of demography as well as in the inference of selection. I am currently studying the migration of Mycobacterium tuberculosis among several Aboriginal Canadian populations using genetic data from bacterial isolates. Another of my projects involves examining genome-wide SNP data from several African populations. I am working to identify evidence of recent migration between the populations, as well as signatures of selection within each of the populations.

As for my non-scientific interests: I love being outdoors – running, camping, hiking, kayaking, and exploring (which I hope to do this summer!). You might also find me drawing, painting, or looking at other people’s art, too.

What are your main interests? Feel free to include a "pie in the sky" big idea!

An incredible amount of information about the history of populations is contained in genetic data, if we can find it. I would like to work to develop more sophisticated and novel ways to analyze genomic data. New methods of analysis would allow us, for instance, to better understand the demography of a given population (or populations), the history of natural selection in a population, or a combination of these and other population processes. These new statistical and computational tools would ideally be able to be applied to a wide range of organisms, datasets, and problems.

What sort of expertise can you bring to the group?

I am fluent in a broad range of statistical methods, and have experience in both applied statistics and statistical theory. I also have a strong understanding of genetics and theoretical population genetics. I am experienced in handling datasets and genetic data, frequently using Python, R, and C++ in my daily research.

What do you hope to get out of the CSSS?

I am excited to be introduced to new ways of thinking and schools of thought this summer, as well as making collaborations with others whose research might be complimentary to mine. I am hoping that after the CSSS, I will be able to see my research from a different perspective, which will help me to make more novel discoveries.

Do you have any possible projects in mind for the CSSS?

I am currently working to understand the demographic history of M. tuberculosis from the genetic data of organisms collected from their human hosts. I would be interested in learning more about how the dynamics of tuberculosis transmission might affect analyses of the population genetics of the organism. For instance, in the transmission of disease from one individual to another, the bacterial population undergoes large bottlenecks. In addition, individuals can have latent tuberculosis (i.e, be infected with M. tuberculosis, but not have active tuberculosis disease; individuals can later develop active tuberculosis). This dynamic may have implications in studies of the organism’s population genetics.

Other questions in population genetics, genetics, and evolution are also right up my alley!