Sofie Salama’s work involves using pluripotent stem cells from a variety of primate species and high-throughput DNA sequencing methods to study how genome evolution affects development and disease. Since 2004, she has collaborated with David Haussler, Scientific Director of the University of California (UC) Santa Cruz Genomics Institute, directing a molecular biology (wet) lab that works closely with the computational genomics (dry) lab. She is currently a research scientist in the Department of Biomolecular Engineering and UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute, as well as a lead scientist for the UC Santa Cruz Treehouse Pediatric Cancer Initiative and a Senior Scientist at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI).
Salama has funding from the National Institutes of Health to explore the mechanisms by which transposable elements lead to new gene regulatory programs important for the evolution of new traits as well as funding from the HHMI, the Schmidt Family Foundation and the Simons Foundation to study the role of human-specific genomic innovations on brain development and disease. Her work has been recognized by the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research.
She received her Ph.D. in molecular, cell and developmental biology at UC Berkeley, followed by postdoctoral research in the Laboratory of Molecular Oncology at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and Harvard Medical School. Before coming to UC Santa Cruz, she was a founding scientist and Director of Core Technologies at Microbia Inc. (now Ironwood Pharmaceuticals).