Welcome to our summer interns

June 2024

This summer we are hosting four summer interns!  We welcome Tuyetanh (GSRM), Francesca (NARI), Brandt (SLCE-BEES) and Lyra (Skyline High School). We are all looking forward to working with them and seeing where their research projects lead.

Paige presents at ICG2023

July 2023

Paige traveled to Melbourne, Australia to attend and present at the International Congress of Genetics, a broad conference covering medical genetics, evolutionary genetics and lots more. She gave a talk in the “Genetics of Wildlife Disease” symposium on the last day of the conference on our ongoing search for parasites in wild primates using sequencing data.

Welcome Anayansi and Grace!

June 2023

The lab is hosting two summer undergraduates again this year. Ananyansi just completed a bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech University and is participating in the Genomics Summer Research for Minorities (GSRM) program. Grace is a rising senior at Duke University and joins us through the Native American Research Internship (NARI) program. Welcome both and thanks for bring your curiosity and skills to work with us!

Radek receives a pilot grant

May 2023

Radek was awarded a 1-year pilot grant from the Cooperative Centers for Excellence in Hematology to study metabolic changes in red blood cells due to sickle cell disease, hypoxia, and malaria infection. Well done Radek!

Welcome Alejandra!

April 2023

Alejandra Herbert Mainero joins the lab as a postdoc after completing her PhD with Sarah Reece at the University of Edinburgh.  She will be working on non-human primate malaria looking at both host and parasite genomic variation.

Welcome Radek!

February 2023

We are excited to have Radek Omelianczyk join the lab as a postdoc. Radek is working jointly in our lab and Paul Sigala’s lab in the biochemistry department. He brings lots of molecular and Plasmodium expertise and will be working on host parasite interactions.


Paige selected as an ASHG Human Genetics Scholar

August 2022

Paige was selected as one of eight researchers to join the Human Genetics Scholars Initiative for 2022-2024. This program is run by the American Society of Human Genetics to promote diversity and inclusion in the field of human genetics. It provides individual and group mentoring, funding for career development, and attendance at the ASHG annual meeting. Paige is a citizen of the Cherokee nation. Outside the lab, she has been active in scientific outreach to connect with youth in the community, sharing her research and path to science.  Read more: Link 1  |  Link 2

Congratulations Paige! 

The lab’s first in-person conference presentations!

August 2022

Paige and Helena both got to experience the fun adventures of in-person conferences this year!  We’re so glad to be able to start sharing our work and meeting the broader community again.

Paige attended the PEQG (Population, Evolutionary, and Quantitative Genetics) meeting in Pacific Grove, CA in June. She will also be attending the ASHG (American Society of Human Genetics) meeting in Los Angeles in October.

Helena attended BioMalPar (Biology and Pathology of the Malaria Parasite) in Heidelberg, Germany in May. She also attended the Evolution conference in Cleveland, OH in June.

Paige with her poster at PEQG
Helena with her poster at BioMalPar

We are back!

August 2022

The lab hosts two summer students

August 2022

We hosted two fantastic summer students this year! Time flew by and they’ve already completed their projects. Lennae Nockideneh, a pre-nursing student at Dixie State University, joined us through the Native American Summer Research Internship (NARI) program. She worked with Paige on a project identifying potential blood group variants in the great apes.  Dariana Rodriguez Purcell, a biology/pre-med and business major at the University of Tampa, joined us through the Genomics Summer Research for Minorities Internship (GSRM) program. She worked with Helena on a project comparing the evolutionary rates of essential and non-essential genes in Plasmodium. Both learned a lot and it was great to get to know them and watch them make new discoveries!  Lennae and Dariana presented posters at the University’s summer research symposium and plan to present at the SACNAS conference in Puerto Rico in October.

Links to the two fantastic summer research programs:  Link 1  |  Link 2

Lennae at her poster at the summer research symposium!

Pooja joins for a rotation

January 2022

The Leffler lab welcomes Pooja Rao for an in-person rotation in the lab! Pooja is a 1st-year Ph.D. student in the Biological Chemistry program.

Madison joins for a rotation

January 2022

The Leffler lab welcomes Madison Baugh for an in-person rotation in the lab! Madison is a 1st-year Ph.D. student in the Molecular Biology program.


Braden joins for a rotation

October 2021

The Leffler lab welcomes Braden Fallon for an in-person rotation in the lab! Braden is a 1st-year Ph.D. student in the Molecular Biology program. We are excited to be back in the lab space (masked) and meeting regularly.

Paige and Helena present to youth-in-custody

March 2022

Paige and Helena gave a virtual presentation to youth-in-custody at the Farmington Bay Youth Center in March 2021. They talked about their journey to becoming scientists, their research projects, and a general background in evolution and genomics. Through this presentation, they hoped to inspire the younger generation to have an interest in science.

This outreach was through STEMCAP, an organization which facilitates engagement between scientists and youth-in-custody.

Eva joins for a virtual third rotation

February 2021

The Leffler lab welcomes Eva Vigato for a virtual rotation in the lab! Eva is a 1st-year Ph.D. student in the Molecular Biology program.


Inviting applications for a postdoc position

November 2020

Postdoctoral Scholar Position

The Leffler Lab in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah is recruiting a Postdoctoral Scholar broadly interested in human genomics, malaria, and/or structural variation. The Postdoctoral Scholar will lead a new project in the lab in one of our areas of focus, depending on his/her interest and expertise. Potential projects include (1) dual transcriptomics of malaria infections and (2) characterizing mechanisms of structural variant formation. The Postdoctoral Scholar will also have flexibility to develop independent lines of research during their appointment. The position is available as early as February 2021 and the start date is negotiable. A remote start with a later move to Salt Lake City is possible.

The Leffler Lab uses evolutionary and genomics approaches to study adaptation to infectious disease, especially malaria. We value inclusivity and support professional development of trainees both inside and outside academia. We are located in the Eccles institute for Human Genetics at the University of Utah ( among a strong community of evolutionary, computational, genomics, and infectious disease researchers, with links to the Biology Department ( and other medical school departments including through the Immunology, Inflammation, and Infectious Disease Initiative ( We are located in Salt Lake City, which is offers excellent quality-of-life with remarkable access to outdoor activities in the nearby mountains and deserts.

Candidate qualifications: A Ph.D. in a biological or quantitative discipline is required. Working knowledge of evolutionary and population genetics, experience with genomics and bioinformatics analyses, programming experience, and a strong quantitative background are preferred. Previous experience analyzing large transcriptomic or genomics data sets would be an advantage. The candidate should have a track record of scientific publications and conference presentations commensurate with career stage.

Compensation: Full salary and benefits available for up to three years. The initial appointment will be for one year, renewable upon satisfactory performance.

How to apply: Please send a CV and a cover letter describing research interests and experience, future career goals, reason for interest in this position, and contact information for two references to

Shai-anne joins for a virtual second rotation

October 2020

The Leffler lab welcomes Shai-anne Nalder for a virtual rotation in the lab! Shai-anne is a 1st-year Ph.D. student in the Biological Chemistry program.

Paige selected for the genetics training grant

September 2020

Paige has been selected to be supported by the Genetics Training Grant T32. The training grant provides a stipend and travel funds, as well as opportunities to present, host speakers, and for scientific and professional development. Congratulations Paige!

Jordan joins for a virtual first rotation

September 2020

The Leffler lab welcomes Jordan Little for a virtual rotation in the lab! Jordan is a 1st-year Ph.D. student in the Molecular Biology program.

Welcome Paige and Helena

June 2020

Paige Eberle and Helena Hopson have joined the lab for their Ph.D. research. Welcome! We’re excited to have them as the first students in the lab and to see what discoveries lie ahead.

Paige Eberle
Helena Hopson


The Leffler Lab welcomes two rotation students

December 2019

First-year PhD students Helena Hopson and Nikola Williams will join the lab for a 2020 spring semester rotation. Welcome Helena and Nikola!

Host-pathogen symposium at SMBE 2020

December 2019

Together with Azim Ansari, Ellen will be hosting a symposium at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE). The topic of the symposium is “Host-parasite co-evolution through joint genome analyses” and will bring together researchers working on genomic, transcriptomic or potentially other ‘omic datasets dually collected for host and pathogen species. The invited speaker is Vincent Pedergnana. Please spread the word to anyone you know who is working on this topic! Abstracts are due January 20, 2020.

Unfortunately, SMBE has been cancelled and this symposium won’t be taking place. We hope to organize something similar in the future.

Lab launch

December 2019

The lab will open its doors in February 2020!