Melinda Yang's Lab

My research lab focuses on using computational tools to study evolutionary and population genetics and genomics. Students are encouraged to gain familiarity with Python and Linux languages when they join my lab, so that they can explore diverse research projects examining genomic patterns in various organisms. A major research area of my lab is in human evolutionary genomics, using ancient and present-day DNA to study human pre-history. Ongoing projects on humans involve studying the evolutionary changes in genes under potential adaptation, the genetic interactions between distinct human populations, and the continuity between ancient and present-day populations. In addition, we apply bioinformatic tools to studying fruit flies, and we participate in a larger research collaboration with the Genomics Education Partnership to annotate genes in the insulin signaling pathway across Drosophila species for downstream evolutionary comparisons.

Current Projects

  • Analysis of the genetic diversity and evolutionary trajectory of alcohol metabolism genes
  • Examining interactions resulting in genetic admixture in ancient Japanese hunter-gatherers
  • Assessing genetic structure in local Zaprionus indicus populations
  • Annotation of insulin signaling pathway genes in Drosophila species

Current University of Richmond Research Students

Maddie Olvey ’23
Yibing Lu ‘23
Skyler He ‘25
Elena Zerkin ‘25

University of Richmond Graduates (Partial List)

Ebby Raymundo ’21 (UNC Charlotte, Bioinformatics Master’s program)
Zhiyou Ye ‘21 (Duke University, Biomedical Engineering Master’s program)
Betty Duan ‘22 (Emory University, Genetics & Molecular Biology PhD program)