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Population Genomics of microorganisms and their hosts in health and disease

Population Genomics of microorganisms and their hosts in health and disease

Welcome to the Cornejo Lab

Our ability to understand how pathogens and hosts have adapted to each other requires a deep understanding of how basic evolutionary processes that have shaped the genetic architecture of these organisms. In our research, we use a multidisciplinary approach that combines computational biology, population genetic/genomic analyses, phylogenetics, simple mathematical modeling, and wet lab experiments to address these issues. Developing a better understanding of the forces shaping the genetic architecture of organisms will have enormous implications on the design of strategies for the management of populations and species of interest. We use genomic data to infer the demographic history of populations and use these demographics to better understand how selection has shaped specific regions of the genome to contribute to species adaptations. We investigate these questions in different systems: i) Humans; ii) Microbiomes; iii) Malarial parasites; and iv) Plants. Some of the questions we address in our research are:

  1. How are microbiomes structured by host genetics and the physiological niche created by the host?
  2. How do differences in microbiome composition modulate phenotypes in hosts?
  3. How important is homologous recombination for the evolution of traits involved in host shifts or adaptation to new environments in microbes and hosts?
  4. During which stages of the complex life cycle of organisms do we expect to find hotspots of adaptation?
  5. How has the demographics impacts the accumulation of deleterious mutations, impacting the fitness of individuals?

We are experts in the generation and analysis of next generation sequencing data and we provide a great learning environment for students and postdocs with a quantitative inclination. You can learn more about what we do in our lab in the Research section.

Some of the questions currently addressed in our lab can be more thoroughly explored in our Research Areas. If you are interested in any of these research topics do not hesitate to contact us. For more information on the opportunities in for Undergraduate, Graduate and Postodoctoral positions visit our Opportunities section.

News of interest

WSU VP of Research Visits the Lab:

VPR Chris Keane toured the Goodman, Kelley, and Cornejo Laboratories

Cacao in the news:

Cacao analysis dates domesticated chocolate trees back 3,600 years

The evolutionary genomics of the chocolate tree, Theobroma cacao


The lab in the WSU news


Our recent work on Gardnerella vaginalis in collaboration with Larry Forney is out (check it out)


The Cornejo Lab joins Ag1000 to help contribute to improve human health