Elinor Karlsson, Ph.D.
Director, Vertebrate Genomics
Elinor Karlsson is the director of the Vertebrate Genomics Group at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. She is also a professor in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. She is excited by the potential for using our own evolutionary history to understand how the human genome works, and in how that knowledge can lead to advances in healthcare.
Karlsson’s current projects include the Zoonomia Project, an international effort led by the Vertebrate Genomics group at the Broad to compare hundreds of different mammalian genomes and identify critically important segments of DNA. She is also studying recent human evolution to find the genetic variation that makes some people resistant to ancient infectious diseases, like cholera. Karlsson has a special interest in diseases shared between humans and dogs. She leads the citizen science-driven Darwin’s Dogs project, which invites all dog owners to participate directly in research exploring the genetic basis of dog behavior, as well as diseases such as OCD and cancer.
Karlsson received her B.A. in biochemistry/cell biology from Rice University, and earned her Ph.D. in bioinformatics from Boston University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University before starting her own research group at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 2014.