Luke is a quantitative geneticist interested in complex trait architecture, and how evolutionary forces such as genetic drift and selection shape that architecture. Starting out in population genetics, Luke worked in plant systems to identify signatures of adaptation and speciation, eventually focusing on human genetics because of the tremendous amount of genotype and phenotype data available. He is particularly interested in depression and anxiety and their relationships with smoking and alcohol use and dependence. He is also interested in translational work between human genetic studies and model systems. His undergraduate degree is in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from Dartmouth College, and his M.S. and Ph.D. are in Biology from Northern Arizona University. He held postdoctoral positions at West Virginia University and CU prior to his faculty appointment at IBG. He is a Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Behavioral Genetics and Assistant Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Travis began his Ph.D. in EBIO and at IBG in the fall of 2019 after receiving his M.S. from UNLV in 2019. His research interests are in understanding the genetic architecture of psychiatric disorders. The project he is currently working on is a Transcriptome-Wide Association Study (TWAS) of smoking behaviors. The goal of this project is to leverage expression and SNP data from public resources, such as GTEx and PsychENCODE, against GWAS summary statistics to provide additional genetic information regarding smoking related traits.
Maizy joined the lab in 2021 as a Bachelor's-Accelerated Master's (BAM) student in EBIO. Her honors thesis focused on testing whether genes identified in mouse models of anxiety-like behaviors also explain genetic variation in human anxiety phenotypes. For her Master's, she is interested in the genetics of internalizing disorders and substance use, and the genetic relationships among them.
Chris has a degree in Applied Mathematics from CU Boulder. After that, he joined CCPM at Anschutz and worked on statistical genetics. He began his Ph.D. in EBIO in 2021, and is part of the BioFrontiers Interdisciplinary & Quantitative Biology program.
Pamela Romero Villela, B.S.
Pamela began her Ph.D. in Psychiatric, Behavioral, and Statistical Genetics at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Institute for Behavioral Genetics in fall of 2019. Her work focuses on the genetics of substance use and mental health in minority populations. In addition, she is an artist who merges art and science to create new ways of sharing science with the public and further science communication. Her work is vastly multidisciplinary, and welcomes all sorts of collaborations. She is co-mentored with Marissa Ehringer (IPHY) and Matthew Keller (PSYC) and is currently investigating Gene-Gene and Gene-Environment interactions influencing nicotine dependence.
Pamela is the 2021 recipient of the Graduate & Professional Student Government award for Outstanding RA. Congratulations, Pamela!
Previous Lab Members
Sarah Colbert, B.A.
Sarah graduated from CU with a B.A. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a B.A. in Environmental Studies in May of 2020. During her time at CU, she began an independent research project in the Evans Lab investigating the shared genetics of anxiety and alcohol use disorders. Her main research interests include the differential genetic architectures of alcohol use subtypes and the genetic underpinnings of comorbid psychiatric disorders. Sarah enjoys learning and working with new softwares which advance research in the field of human genetics. Her paper is now published in AJMG Part B Neuropsych. She is now a research technician at Washington University in St. Louis and planning on graduate school.
Christine joined the lab through the Summer Multicultural Access to Research Training (SMART) program during the summer of 2019, visiting from Duke University. She worked on testing whether the effect of a specific CHRNA5 polymorphism, rs16969968, on smoking heaviness depends on the age of onset of regular smoking, finding that there is no evidence for such a gene-by-moderator interaction effect. Her work is now published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research. PMID:33165565
Scott Funkhouser, Ph.D.
Scott was a postdoctoral fellow at IBG working on gene-moderator interactions on smoking behaviors. He completed his Bachelor's at the University of Washington and his Ph.D. at Michigan State University. His preprint is available on MedRxiv. He went on to be a scientist at DNAnexus.