People

Pizza & beer at Homeslice (Nov. 2021). Front to back, left: Carrie, Joyce and Matt; right: Arbel, Amber and Rebecca.

At Bufalina Due (March 2023). Front to back, left: Jared, Matt and Joyce; right: Arbel, Dinesh and Sam.


Lab and friends at The Vortex (April 2023). Front to back, left: Sam, Olivia, Arbel, Jed, Jared; right: Matt, Joyce, Mark, Camille, Diego. 

Arbel Harpak | Principal Investigator

Arbel is an Assistant Professor affiliated with both the Division of Health Informatics and Data Science in the Department of Population Health at the Dell Medical School and the Department of Integrative Biology at the College of Natural Sciences. Previously, Arbel was a Simons Foundation Fellow in Molly Przeworski’s lab at Columbia University. He holds a B.S. in both mathematics and physics and an M.S. in ecology, evolution and behavior from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, advised by Guy Sella. He also holds an M.S. in statistics and a Ph.D. in biology from Stanford University, where he was advised by Jonathan Pritchard as a Stanford Center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genomics Fellow.

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Carrie Zhu | Research Scientist

Carrie completed her Bachelor's degree at UT Austin studying Management Information Systems and pursuing the Elements of Computing Certificate and Pre-Medical track. She is interested in genomic research and its clinical applications. She is currently pursuing an MD degree, and hopes to combine clinical work with research. Outside of research, she enjoys playing volleyball and tutoring children.

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Joyce Wang | PhD Student

Joyce received her B.S. in Biology from UT Austin and is currently a graduate student in the Cell and Molecular Biology program. She is broadly interested in computational biology. Joyce is jointly advised by Arbel and Vagheesh Narasimhan, and is interested in understanding the relationship between genetic ancestry and the portability of polygenic scores. Outside the lab, Joyce enjoys baking and photography.



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Samuel Smith | Postdoctoral Researcher

Sam earned a Ph.D. in computational biology from Brown University where he worked with Sohini Ramachandran on developing new frameworks for analyzing genetic data from multiple populations at multiple genomic scales. He earned a B.A. in Evolutionary Biology from Vanderbilt University while working with Antonis Rokas on the genetic determinants of reproductive life history traits in the domestic dog. Sam is interested in developing new methods to interrogate open questions in population and quantitative genetics.

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Olivia Smith | PhD Student 

Olivia is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the Cell and Molecular Biology program. She worked in the Narasimhan Lab on the first part of her Ph.D., studying the evolution of methylation patterns using ancient DNA before joining the Harpak Lab. Olivia has a B.S. in Biochemistry and a minor in Biomedical Engineering from Colorado State University. Her research background is in high-throughput microbial engineering for biotech and agbiotech. She is broadly interested in computational biology. When Olivia is not working, she likes to go on bike tours and draw botanical illustrations.

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Shane Rybacki | Undergraduate Researcher

Shane is an undergraduate student at UT Austin pursuing both a B.S. in Mathematics as well as a B.B.A. for the Canfield Business Honors Program. He is interested in population genetics and the application of statistical and computational methods to biological research. Outside the lab, he enjoys playing double bass, guitar, and watching soccer.

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Matthew Ming | PhD Student 

Matt is a graduate student in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior program joint between the Harpak Lab and the Kirkpatrick Lab. He received his B.A. in Biology at Cornell University. He is broadly interested in population genetics, evolution, and computational biology.  Outside the lab, Matt enjoys rock climbing, playing board games, and watching movies.

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Charlotte LeMay | PhD Student 

Charlotte LeMay is a PhD student in the Computer Science program at UT Austin. She received her B.S. in mathematics from Harvey Mudd College. She is interested in algorithms used in the study of evolution and genetics. Charlotte also enjoys playing clarinet and piano, Irish dance, running, and crocheting.

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Xinyi Miao | PhD Student 

Xinyi is an undergraduate at University of Science and Technology of China pursuing Bachelor’s degree in Statistics. Xinyi is interested in population genetics and GWAS. Outside of research, Xinyi enjoys calligraphy and debate.

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Jared Cole | PhD Student 

Jared is a graduate student in the Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior program in both the Harpak and Kirkpatrick Labs. He received a B.S. in Biology from the University of Arkansas and a M.S. from Mississippi State University. He is interested in evolution and population genetics, especially the study of genome evolution, sexual antagonism, and sex chromosomes. His current research focuses on sex-specific selection in humans. Outside the lab, he enjoys movies, reading, and the Austin live music scene.

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Jedidiah Carlson | Research Associate 

Jed earned a PhD in bioinformatics from the University of Michigan in 2018 and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Washington Department of Genome Sciences, followed by industry R&D positions at Helix and TwinStrand Biosciences. He is interested in human evolutionary/population genetics, bioinformatics for large-scale sequencing data, and metaresearch on the social impacts of science.

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Alumni

Jingsong Zhou | Visiting Graduate Student

Jingsong received his B.S. in Statistics from the University of Science and Technology of China and is currently a graduate student in the Data Science and Statistics program at UW-Madison. He is broadly interested in population genetics and computational biology.  During his tenure at the lab, Jingsong worked on modeling the declining robustness of gene expression networks with age, and applied this model to experimental data from mosquitos.

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Regina Ye | Undergraduate Student

Regina majored in computer science at UT Austin. She's interested in the development and application of artificial intelligence (AI) to various fields. Her long-term goal is to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science, with a focus on AI. Outside of her academic pursuits, Regina enjoys creating digital art, playing the guitar, and exploring diverse academic fields such as psychology.



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Liaoyi Xu | PhD Rotation Student

Liaoyi is a graduate student in the Cell and Molecular Biology program who completed a rotation project in the lab. Before starting at UT Austin, he received his Master's degree in Animal Science at Zhejiang University. He is broadly interested in bioinformatics and computational biology. Outside the lab, Liaoyi enjoys playing table tennis and badminton. Currently, Liaoyi is a student at the Narasimhan Lab at UT Austin.

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Eric Weine | Research Scientist

Eric received his Bachelor's and Master's, both in Statistics, at the University of Chicago in 2019. Before joining the lab, he was a Quantitative Analyst at the Los Angeles Dodgers.At the lab, he worked on statistical modeling of gene-by-environment interactions in genome-wide association studies. Broadly, Eric is interested in applying statistics and machine learning to large genomic datasets. Starting 2023, Eric started his Ph.D. studies at MIT.

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Lisa Phan | PhD Rotation Student

Lisa rotated in the lab via the Cell and Molecular Biology Program at UT Austin. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry with a Math minor in Southern Methodist University, Dallas. She is interested in quantitative biology and the evolution of protein. When not working in the lab, she enjoys reading, playing the kalimba, and listening to TED Talks.

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Sean Lau | Undergraduate Student 

Sean is a pre-medical undergraduate student at UT Austin pursuing Bachelor's degrees in both Biology and Management. He is interested in population genetics, evolution, and their applications in medicine. Outside of research, Sean enjoys playing soccer, basketball, hiking, and listening to music.

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Rebecca Knowlton | PhD Rotation Student

Rebecca is a PhD student in Statistics and Data Science and has completed a research elective with the lab. She had received her B.A in Mathematics from Trinity University and worked as an actuarial analyst for three years before starting her graduate program. Outside of work, she enjoys board games, reading, watching movies, and hiking.

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Amber Day | PhD Rotation Student 

Amber is a graduate student in Statistics and Data Science and did a research elective in the lab. She had completed her Bachelor's degree at Texas State University studying Mathematics and Secondary Education and a Master's degree at the University of Rochester in Mathematics Education and one Master's degree at the State University of New York Brockport in Mathematics. Amber's research interests include functional graphical models, machine learning, biostatistics, and applications in the social sciences.

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