Our Lab

Aaron Quinlan (he/him) is the Colby Endowed Professor of Human Genetics and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Utah. He also co-directs the DELPHI Biomedical Data Science Initiative and the Utah Center for Genetic Discovery. He is passionate about genome biology, genome data science, and squash (the sport). For more details, refer to his CV.

Lab as of August 2023

Lab culture

Our lab’s culture and mentorship approach seeks to nurture creativity, scientific independence, and rigor. Our lab motto is “Know thy data”.

We strive to create a collaborative, friendly, and respectful lab culture that encourages open communication and values team science.

Our code of conduct requires that lab members are expected to: Be kind, Be aware, Become an expert, Be autodidactic, Be helpful, Be safe, Be organized, Be professional, Be responsible, Be punctual, Be responsive, Be prepared.

Postdoctoral fellows

Name GitHub Twitter Personal website
:Harriet Dashnow (she/her)
K99/R00 NHGRI Fellow
Michael Goldberg
T32 Fellow in Genomic Medicine
:Hannah Happ (she/her)
Postdoctoral Scientist

:x harriet-dashnow-bio

Harriet Dashnow is currently a postdoc in the Quinlan Lab at the University of Utah. She did her PhD research in the Oshlack Lab at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is best known for her work in detecting STR expansions, and has also published bioinformatic methods for clinical exome sequencing and microbial gene detection.

Harriet obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), a Bachelor of Science (Genetics, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology) and a Master of Science (Bioinformatics) with Dean’s Honours from the University of Melbourne in Australia. She currently holds a K99/R00 from NHGRI.

Harriet will join the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus as an Assistant Professor in 2024.

:x hannah-happ-bio

Hannah did her Ph.D. research in Gemma Carvill’s lab at Northwestern University using gene discovery and molecular biology approaches to study missing etiologies in the genetic epilepsies. In 2023, Hannah brought her passion for neurogenetics and snacks to the Quinlan lab as a postdoc. She is excited to develop a computational skillset to complement her molecular biology background. Outside of lab, Hannah can be found reading, eating, and exploring the mountains.

Graduate students

Name GitHub Twitter Personal website
John Chamberlin
NLM T15 Fellow
:Laurel Hiatt (they/he)
F30 Fellow (NICHD)
Joshua Major-Mincer
NLM T15 Fellow
Jason Kunisaki
T32 Genetics Fellow

:x laurel-hiatt-bio

Laurel Hiatt is an MD/PhD candidate interested in pediatric medical genetics and tissue-specific somatic mosaicism. They are currently working toward a thesis involving regional somatic mosaicism of the colon, and like to spend their free time working on short tandem repeat detection and diagnostic significance.

Staff scientists

Name GitHub Twitter Personal website
Brent Pedersen
:Tom Sasani (he/him)
:Peter McHale
Suchita Lulla
Tom Nicholas

:x tom-sasani-bio

Tom received his Ph.D in Human Genetics from the University of Utah in 2019 and was a postdoctoral fellow with Kelley Harris at the University of Washington until 2021. He was a Senior Data Scientist at Recursion Pharmaceuticals until 2022, when he returned to the Quinlan Lab as a staff scientist. In his free time Tom likes to play squash, perfect his tavern-style pizza recipe and attend as many concerts as possible in Atlanta.

:x peter-mchale-bio

Peter received his Ph.D in theoretical condensed matter physics from the University of Cambridge in 2022, subsequently pursuing research in this field as a postdoctoral fellow at one of the Max Planck Institutes in Dresden, Germany. There he began a new “career” using spatio-temporal mathematical modeling to understand complex biological systems. He emigrated to the US to continue this work, developing models for gene expression patterning (at UC San Diego), and for mutation accumulation in stem cells and the evolution of epistatis in population genetics (at UC Irvine). At the University of Utah, he develops new software technologies for interpreting clinical data, and pursues his interest in population genetics by using statistical modeling to understand the footprint left by natural selection in the human genome, with a view to understanding the genetic basis of rare human disease.

:x your-bio-here

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Graduate students

Name Current position
Stephanie Kravitz Computational Biologist at 10X Genomics
Jon Belyeu Bioinformatics Scientist at Illumina
Michael Cormier Bioinformatics Scientist at Fabric Genomics
Jim Havrilla Director of Informatics at Pathnostics

Postdoctoral fellows

Name Current position
Amelia Wallace Data Scientist at Adaptive Biotechnologies
Brian Lohman Bioinformatics Scientist at Quest Diagnostics
Ryan Layer Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder
Uma Paila Assistant Professor at the University of Virginia

Staff scientists

Name Current position
Hao Hou
Joe Brown Data Scientist at Invitae
Meenal Gupta
Neil Kindlon Programmer/Analyst at the Jackson Laboratories

Undergraduate researchers

Name Current position
John Rubinski
Phanwadee Sinthong