Melissa Gymrek received her Ph.D. under Yaniv Erlich and Mark Daly at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she investigated the contribution of complex repetitive genetic variants to human phenotypes. In 2016, she joined the faculty of the University of California, San Diego, in the Departments of Medicine and Computer Science and Engineering.
Gymrek’s major research interest is to understand which genetic variants underlie phenotypic changes, ultimately leading to human disease. Her recent work focuses on repetitive DNA variants known as short tandem repeats (STRs) as a model for complex variation. She develops computational methods for analyzing and visualizing complex variation from large-scale sequencing data. These tools will allow us for the first time to answer many questions regarding STRs and other variant types, including their contribution to human conditions such as autism and schizophrenia.