Dr. Haley J. Abel joined the Department of Medicine in the Division of Oncology as an Instructor in October, 2020.
Dr. Abel received her B.A. in Mathematics and Chemistry (summa cum laude) from Vanderbilt University and her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Washington University in St. Louis. During her doctoral research in mathematics, she worked on Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods applied to problems in population genetics. She continued work on MCMC methods during her postdoctoral training at the University of Utah, applying the methods of Bayesian graphical models to multiple problems in statistical genetics, including phasing, imputation, and local ancestry estimation. As a postdoctoral fellow, she also became interested in the analysis of then-‘next generation’ sequencing data and, in particular, its use for the study of structural variation in clinical cancer genomics
Dr. Abel joined the faculty of the Department of Genetics at Washington University in 2011. Her research interests lie, broadly, in the development and application of computational and statistical methods to study the structure and function of the genome. Over the past decade, she has been fortunate to be involved in numerous projects spanning a variety of disciplines, including human statistical genetics studies, development of tools for clinical cancer genomics, and analyses of microbiome data. For the past several years, however, her primary focus has been the study of structural variation in large-scale human cohorts. As part of the NHGRI Centers for Common Disease Project, she has worked to develop scalable pipelines to produce joint SV callsets across tens of thousands of deeply-sequenced whole genomes on the Google Cloud. She has also led the analysis of these datasets, both to characterize the patterns of structural variation in the normal human population and to examine the association of SV with common disease phenotypes. More recently, she has become involved with the Human Pangenome Project and is excited to see how a diverse and high-quality human reference pangenome will drive discovery in human genetics and in cancer genomics.