Lab Members



Ran Blekhman, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator
Pronouns: he/him/his
blekhman ~ umn.edu
(612) 624-4092
blekhmanlab.org
@blekhman
Ran Blekhman is a Northrop Professor at the University of Minnesota, with a joint appointment in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development, and the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior. Before joining the UofM in 2013, Ran was a Postdoctoral Associate working with Andrew G. Clark at Cornell University. Ran holds a Ph.D. in Human Genetics from The University of Chicago, where he worked with Yoav Gilad.


Karen Tang, Ph.D.
Data Analyst
tangx022 ~ umn.edu
Karen is using data mining approaches to identify microbial information in human genomic sequencing data. Karen has extensive background in computational biology and genomic data analysis, and holds a PhD in Biophysics from UCSF.


Laura Grieneisen, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate
Grand Challenges in Biology Fellow
Pronouns: she/her/hers
lgrienei ~ umn.edu
@ferocious_sloth
Publications in Pubmed
Google Scholar
Laura is studying the effect of host genetics and social behavior on the microbiome using populations of wild baboons in Amboseli, Kenya. Laura holds a B.S. in Biology from the College of William & Mary and an M.S. in Biology from Bucknell University. She has worked on her Ph.D. with Beth Archie at Notre Dame and has joined our lab as a Grand Challenges in Biology Postdoctoral Fellow in Summer 2017.


Beth Adamowicz, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate
Pronouns: she/her/hers
adamo010 ~ umn.edu
@BethA_z
Publications in Pubmed
Google Scholar
Beth joined the lab as a postdoctoral associate in July 2019, and is interested in how metabolic interactions shape and predict microbiome community structure. She completed her Ph.D. with Will Harcombe at the University of Minnesota, where she studied the impact of interspecies interactions on antibiotic resistance. Beth also holds a B.Sc. in molecular genetics from the University of Alberta.


Kelsey Johnson, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate
MinnCResT NIH T32 Fellow
kej ~ umn.edu
Google Scholar
Kelsey is studying the genomics of human breast milk, with a focus on understanding the relationship between host genetics and the milk microbiome and the effect of this relationship on infant health. Kelsey is co-advised by Frank Albert, and is working in collaboration with Ellen Demerath at the University of Minnesota. Kelsey holds a bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. in Genetics & Epigenetics from the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied population and quantitative genetics with Ben Voight.


Sambhawa Priya
Graduate Student, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
UMN Doctoral Dissertation Fellow
Pronouns: she/her/hers
priya030 ~ umn.edu
@sambhawa_priya
Personal Homepage
Google Scholar
Sambhawa joined the lab in August 2016 as a graduate student. Her research focuses on development of analytical methods for joint analysis of microbiome and host genomic data. Before joining the lab, Sambhawa completed an M.S. degree in Computer Science from Lehigh University, and worked on mining genetic data at the Mayo Clinic.


Amanda Muehlbauer
Graduate Student, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
muehl038 ~ umn.edu
@A_Muehlbauer
Amanda is interested in understanding the evolution of host-microbiome interaction by studying non-human primates and diverse human populations. Amanda completed a B.Sc. in Mathematics at the University of Minnesota in 2013, and worked as a Research Associate at UC Berkeley before joining the lab in 2016.


Trevor Gould
Graduate Student, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
goul0109 ~ umn.edu
@TrevGould
Google Scholar
Trevor joined the lab in 2017 as a graduate student in the BICB program. Trevor's research interest revolve around characterizing the environmental and genetic factors that influence microbiome dynamics across individuals and populations. Trevor holds a B.A in Biology from the University of St. Thomas, an M.S in Biological Anthropology, Evolution, and Behavior from the University of London, and in the last few years has been working as a microbiome data analyst at the University of Minnesota Informatics Institute.


Mattea Allert
Graduate Student, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
alle0499 ~ umn.edu
Mattea is interested in studying the evolutionary forces that have shaped the genomes of both microbes and their host. Before joining the lab in 2018 as a graduate student in the BICB program, Mattea performed research at Iowa State University and the University of Virginia, and she holds a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and an M.S. from the University of Texas at Tyler.


Richard Abdill
Graduate Student, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
Pronouns: he/him/his
rabdill ~ umn.edu
@richabdill
Personal Homepage
Google Scholar
Rich joined the lab in 2018 as a graduate student in the BICB program. He is interested in using machine-learning techniques to develop new methods of integrating microbiome data with other biological information. Before joining the lab Rich was a system programmer at the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, and previously held positions as developer and engineer at Amazon Web Services, Target Corp, and USA Today. Rich holds a B.A. in print journalism from the University of Maryland.

You?

We are looking for researchers to join our group! See this page for more details, and contact Ran Blekhman with informal enquires.

Former Lab Members



Michael Burns, Ph.D.
HHMI Postdoctoral Associate
2013-2016
Assistant Professor
Loyola University Chicago
Lab website


Andres Gomez, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate
2014-2016
Assistant Professor
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Lab website


Elise Morton, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate
2014-2016
Assistant Professor
Fairleigh Dickinson University


Gargi Dayama, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Associate
2016-2020
Research Associate
Boston University


Joshua Lynch
M.S. Student, BICB
2014-2015
Researcher, Insight Centre for Data Analytics


Ben Wedin
Undergraduate Researcher
2014

Associate Computational Biologist
The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard



Katherine Schroepfer

Undergraduate Researcher
2016

Genetic Counseling Graduate Program
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities


Monica Iram

Undergraduate Researcher
2019-2020

Undergraduate student
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Isaac Fink

High School Researcher
2018

Undergraduate Student
University of Chicago

Joanna Sands

High School Researcher
2014

Undergraduate Student
MIT

Margaret Sands

High School Researcher
2014

Undergraduate Student
MIT