Philipp W. Messer
Philipp studied Physics and Human Physiology at the University of Cologne. After obtaining his Diploma in Theoretical Physics under the supervision of Michael Lassig, he pursued a doctorate with Martin Vingron and Peter Arndt at the Max-Planck-Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin. He received his PhD in Computational Biology (summa cum laude) from the Department of Mathematics at the Free University Berlin. For his postdoc, Philipp worked in Dmitri Petrov’s lab at Stanford as a Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP) long-term postdoctoral fellow. In 2014, he joined the Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology at Cornell University as an Assistant Professor. Research in Philipp’s lab centers on improving our understanding of the fundamental processes that govern molecular evolution. Download CV
Benjamin C. Haller
Benjamin C. Haller works in the Messer Lab as a Scientific Programmer/Analyst, primarily on the SLiM forward genetic simulation package. He obtained his Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from McGill University in 2013. Prior to his doctoral studies, Ben was as a software engineer and worked for many years at Apple. For more information, including academic publications and detailed CV, visit his website at: http://benhaller.com/
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Jackson Champer is creating and modeling gene drive systems, which enable a genetic payload to spread through a population even when imposing a fitness cost on its host organism. Results so far indicate that resistance alleles are the limiting factor in the effectiveness of gene drives. He is interested in novel methods to control vector borne disease and hopes that gene drive will become a cost-effective approach to address this problem. Jackson received a M.S. in physics from UCLA and a Ph.D. from the City of Hope Graduate School of Biological Sciences. He joined the Messer lab at Cornell in May 2016. For more information, including academic publications and detailed CV, visit his website at: https://champerlab.weebly.com/.
Nathan is a PhD student in Computational Biology, where he leverages his background in electrical engineering and software development to investigate population genetics questions through modeling and development/support of high performance simulation and analysis software. He is interested in questions about complex and dynamical systems in general, and about fundamental processes involved in evolution and adaptation specifically. Nathan joined the lab in summer 2016.
Ian is a PhD student in the field of Computational Biology. He is interested in exploring the signatures that past and ongoing evolutionary processes leave in genotypes and phenotypes of species. His goal is leveraging data science, statistics, and computational tools to develop new methods of detecting such signatures. He is currently focused on identifying and classifying selective sweeps in populations relevant to conservation, agriculture, and medicine. Ian joined the lab in fall 2017.
Anna Maria Langmüller
Visiting Graduate Student
Anna is a PhD student in Christian Schlötterer’s lab at the Institute of Population Genetics of the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna. In her PhD project, she investigates the genomic response and dynamics of experimental Drosophila populations evolving to new temperature regimes. During her stay in the Messer lab, Anna wants to assess the potential fitness costs of CRISPR gene drive constructs in Drosophila, using cage evolution experiments and computational analyses. Anna joined the lab in August 2018.
Runxi is a PhD student studying Computational Biology at Cornell. As an undergraduate, he studied Applied Mathematics at UCLA, where he started to gradually switch his interest towards applying mathematics in the biological field. His current research focuses on detecting and localizing pesticide resistance alleles in mosquitoes through a novel QTL mapping method called bulk segregant analysis, and more generally to build up computational and mathematical models for exploring population genetics. He also has broad interests in different kinds of sports, including basketball, badminton, swimming, hiking, paddle board, etc. Runxi joined the lab in summer 2018.
Mitch is a PhD student in the Genetics, Genomics, & Development program at Cornell, co-advised by Philipp Messer and Andy Clark. During his undergrad at the University of Utah, Mitch estimated rates and timing of archaic admixture with Prof Alan Rogers. Currently he is studying the molecular basis of deleterious variants in humans and the evolutionary dynamics of such variants from a population genetic framework. Mitch joined the lab May 2019.
Graduate Research Assistant / Programmer
Sam is a research programmer in the Messer lab. He is working to create high fidelity gene-drive models and is interested in exploring the dynamics of large-scale populations modeled in realistic spaces. Computational modeling of these dynamics must be mastered before any real-world release of life-saving or habitat-restoring gene-drive systems can be considered. Chief among his tools are C++, Python, and the SLiM evolutionary framework. Sam is pleased to be conducting his research as a joint effort with his brother, Jackson. Sam joined the lab in Summer of 2018.
Isabel is a sophomore majoring in Biometry and Statistics with a concentration in Statistical Genomics and a minor in Applied Economics. She is interested in modeling gene drive scenarios using SLiM. On campus, Isabel is a member of the Korean American Student Association and Alpha Phi Omega, a coed service fraternity. Isabel joined the lab in September 2018.
Lin is a junior majoring in Biometry and Statistics. She is interested in modeling gene drives using SLiM and math/statistical modeling. On campus, she is part of Alpha Phi Omega, a coed service fraternity, and Cornell Statistics Club. She joined the lab in September 2018.
Sandra is a junior majoring in Biometry and Statistics with a concentration in Computer Science and a minor in Business. She is studying the dynamics of Drosophila populations and modeling gene drive systems in SLiM. At Cornell, Sandra is involved in Alpha Phi Omega, a coed service fraternity. She is also a CALS Ambassador and Biometry Peer advisor working closely with prospective and current Cornell students. Sandra joined the lab in November 2018.
Matt is a sophomore majoring in biological engineering with a focus in synthetic biology. He is testing new gene drive constructs, working towards improved efficiency and reduced resistance allele formation. On campus, he is involved in rock climbing and the recreational fencing club. Matt joined the lab in spring 2019.