Laura Scheinfeldt, PhD

Principal Research Scientist

I am a genomic anthropologist with an interdisciplinary approach to the study of past and present human biological variation. My research interests are focused on the ways in which human evolutionary history has shaped patterns of genetic, genomic and phenotypic variation across contemporary human populations.

One component of my research involves the characterization of modern human evolutionary history and utilization of computational models to better predict patterns of neutral contemporary human variation. These theoretical neutral expectations can then be compared against empirical data to identify regions of the genome that deviate from these patterns and therefore may have been subjected to past and ongoing positive and negative selective pressures. This work contributes to a more complete picture of the genes and related phenotypes that have been affected by environmental changes due to migrations of modern humans within and outside of Africa and into novel environments such as high-altitude regions as well as Neolithic changes due to shifts in subsistence and population densities such as the genes involved in immune response to disease.

In parallel, I am investigating the ways in which study design restricts the relevance of results across human populations. This work examines how persistent ascertainment biases in the current research literature impact genomic data collection, variant imputation, replication across studies, generalizability to marginalized communities and clinical translation of genomic and pharmacogenomic research results.

Finally, I'm interested in leveraging biobanking resources such as the NINDS Human Genetics Resource Center that house and distribute thousands of biospecimens and associated clinical and demographic data collected from research participants living in diverse communities to the research community to mitigate the negative impact of ascertainment bias on human genomic research.

Education

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Washington

Postdoctoral Fellow, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Graduate Assistantship, Molecular Biology Laboratory, Coriell Institute for Medical Research

PhD, Department of Anthropology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 

MA, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

BA, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY

Publications

Google Scholar

PubMed - My Bibliography