Group Members

John Novembre


I got my start in this field through a combination of enjoying computer programming as a hobby and thinking about evolution as one of the world’s most fascinating natural processes. Now, my main research tackles statistical and theoretical problems to help enable discoveries about evolutionary processes and the nature of disease variation. Much of that work is in the context of human genetic variation, which is doubly fascinating because of the connections to fields like linguistics, archaeology, and history. For my training, I earned my undergrad degree in biochemistry at the Colorado College, studied for my PhD with a designated emphasis in Computational Biology & Genomics at UC-Berkeley under Montgomery Slatkin, and did a short postdoc in Human Genetics at Chicago with Matthew Stephens. Previous to my faculty post at UChicago, I was faculty in the Ecology and Evolution Department at UCLA. I like to balance my work life with travel and outdoor sports such as biking, backcountry skiing, surfing, and hiking.

Ben Peter

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ben Peter is a Swiss NSF postdoctoral fellow and former PhD student at the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of California-Berkeley under Monty Slatkin and Rasmus Nielsen. Ben has been working extensively on spatial expansion models and will continue to work on spatial population genetic problems in the lab.

Daniel Rice

Postdoctoral Fellow

Daniel Rice is a postdoctoral fellow in the Chicago Fellows Program. He previously completed a PhD in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University where he studied with Michael Desai. He has worked on problems arising in the analysis of experimental evolution data as well as core issues in theoretical population genetics, such as evolution of the distribution of fitness effects and signatures of multi-merger coalescence.

Hussein Al-Asadi

PhD Student

Hussein is a graduate student in the Committee of Evolutionary Biology and is interested in using Bayesian Statistics and coalescent theory to study population structure. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he majored in mathematics. He is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and is co-advised by Matthew Stephens. When not in the lab or playing with his two daughters, Hussein likes to fish and backpack.

Arjun Biddanda

PhD Student

Arjun is a PhD student in the Department of Human Genetics and is interested in the analysis of haplotypic data to understand demography, recombination, selection, and trait architecture. He previously worked on the population history of the Bene Israel and Cochin Jews as an undergraduate at Cornell University as well as on methods for X-based GWAS.

Evan Koch

PhD Student

Evan is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and PhD student in the Ecology and Evolution program. He has broad interests in evolutionary genetics and has worked in the past on long range LD in humans and sequential coalescent models for chromosome inversions. He has been working on applications of diffusion theory to understand the interaction of selection and demography in recent human history.

Joe Marcus

PhD Student

Joe is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow and PhD student in the Department of Human Genetics. He first worked for the lab as an intern and programmer. He worked extensively on the Geography of Genetic Variants Browser as well as our collaboration with the SardiNIA/Progenia project. He also has interests in the analysis of ancient DNA, quantitative trait variation, and cell-free DNA.

Joel Smith

PhD Student

Joel is a NSF Graduate Research Fellow and PhD student in the Dept of Ecology and Evolution and is interested in tools to dissect variation linked to alleles under positive selection. He’s generally interested in the interaction and effect of selection, recombination and population structure on linked variation.