Chris Gignoux: “Leveraging human genetic diversity in our study of complex trait architecture”, Paul Norman: “Ancient and Modern Admixture Enhanced Natural Killer cell activity in Asia and Oceania”

Dr. Gignoux is a population geneticist by training interested primarily in the confluence of human evolution and epidemiology. Currently he is working on a range of topics from population structure and demographic inference to understanding the genomic architecture of complex traits. He is deeply interested in broadening our understanding of human biology through understanding the role of human genetic diversity across the globe, and continue to perform field work with collaborators in South Africa and across Latin America. On the methods side, he is particularly interested in applications of population genetic theory, statistical modeling, and algorithmic development to improve large-scale, trans-ethnic, and biobank studies.

Dr. Norman studies immunogenetics, which is the genetic variation that underpins our differential responses to infection and autoimmunity. His focus is on the co-evolution of HLA molecules that are expressed by most healthy cells, and the Natural Kill (NK) cell receptors that interact with HLA to control the immune response. This work has taken him from studying organ and tissue transplants, to examining the diversity in hunter-gatherers from Africa and South America, and mining ancient human genomes to trace their immune legacy in present-day populations. His aim is to establish genetic evidence through population and molecular analysis that then informs functional experiments to determine precisely how this variation can influence immunity.