Ellen Leffler, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Research Focus

Evolutionary and infectious disease genomics in humans and non-human primates.

Research in the Leffler lab focuses on evolutionary and population genetics in humans and other primates. We apply computational approaches to diverse genomics datasets to study the origin, evolution, and functional consequences of genetic variation. We are especially interested in structural variation and variation that influences infectious disease susceptibility within and between species.

Representative Publications

Band G, Leffler EM, Jallow M, Sisay-Joof F, Ndila CM, Macharia AW, Hubbart C, Jeffreys AE, Rowlands K, Nguyen T, Goncalves SM, Ariani CV, Stalker J, Pearson RD, Amato R, Drury E, Sirugo G, D’Alessandro U, Bojang KA, Marsh K, Peshu N, Saelens JW, Diakite M, Taylor SM, Conway DJ, Williams TN, Rockett KA, and DP Kwiatkowski. Malaria protection due to sickle haemoglobin depends on parasite genotype. Nature 3 February 2022 602:106-111

Leffler EM, Band G, Busby GBJ, Kivinen K, Le QS, Clarke GM, Bojang KA, Conway DJ, Jallow M, Sisay-Joof F, Bougouma EC, Mangano VD, Modiano D, Sirima SB, Achidi E, Apinjoh TO, Marsh K, Ndila CM, Peshu N, Williams TN, Drakeley C, Manjurano A, Reyburn H, Riley E, Kachala D, Molyneux M, Nyirongo V, Taylor T, Thornton N, Tilley L, Grimsley S, Drury E, Stalker J, Cornelius V, Hubbart C, Jeffreys AE, Rowlands K, Rockett KA, Spencer CCA, Kwiatkowski DP and Malaria Genomic Epidemiology Network. Resistance to malaria through structural variation of red blood cell invasion receptors. Science 16 June 2017 356(6343): eaam6393. [Science] [PMC] [bioRxiv]

Leffler EM*, Gao Z*, Pfeifer S*, Segurel L*, Auton A, Venn O, Bowden R, Bontrop R, Wall JD, Sella G, Donnelly P, McVean G+, and M Przeworski+. Multiple instances of ancient balancing selection shared between humans and chimpanzees. Science 29 March 2013 339:1578-1582


Paige Eberle
Paige Eberle

Graduate Student

Helena Hopson
Helena Hopson

Graduate Student

Contact Information

Email: leffler@genetics.utah.edu

Office: 801.581.4422


Building/Office: EIHG 6200