Patrick F. Reilly
Patrick first stepped into research in the Conservation Genetics lab of Dr. Emily Heffernan at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, studying patterns of genetic diversity in threatened and endangered species of butterflies, moths, and skipperlings (Lepidoptera). Thanks to Dr. Heffernan’s staunch support and mentorship, Patrick fused his two major interests – programming and genetics – into a PhD in Quantitative and Computational Biology at Princeton University under Dr. Peter Andolfatto. While attempting to stay in Lepidopteran genomics, Patrick’s work veered more into population and comparative genomics using the latest cutting-edge genomics and bioinformatics methods to assemble the genomes of several non-model species (both Lepidopterans and fruit flies) and identify patterns of genetic diversity within and between species. In particular, this led to the identification of a pair of overlapping large genomic inversions in the vinegar fly Drosophila yakuba that strongly structure both the genetic diversity within them and broader gene expression patterns, linking a small number of genomic structural variants to widespread phenotypic effects. Since then, Patrick has joined Dr. Serena Tucci’s Human Evolutionary Genomics lab at Yale to study genetic and phenotypic diversity at many scales, with a particular focus on both Oceanic populations and the vast amount of DNA inherited from archaic hominins in these and other worldwide populations. Patrick’s research interests cover a broad spectrum of modern biology, including bioinformatics, comparative genomics, population genetics, and quantitative genetics, spanning a variety of organisms from butterflies and flies to humans (and sometimes fish). All of these organisms have fascinating stories to tell through their phenotypic and genetic variation, and Patrick relishes being at the intersection of all of these fields where we can study this variation, its evolutionary history, and the mechanisms connecting genetic and phenotypic variation. In the before-COVID-times, he enjoyed playing softball (both as a Coprolite and an RNace), and looks forward to restarting at Yale. He’s also an awk and Perl evangelist (and a recent Rustacean) – en garde, Pythonistas!
Reilly, PF, Tjahjadi, A, Miller, SL, Akey, JM, and S Tucci (2022) The contribution of Neanderthal introgression to modern human traits. Current Biology 32(18), R970-R983. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2022.08.027