M. Elise Lauterbur


Enard Lab

Education & Research Experience: 

  • University of Arizona, Postdoctoral Research Associate (2019-2020) and NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow (2020 - Present)
  • PhD in Ecology and Evolution, Stony Brook Universty (conferred 2019)
  • BA in Biology and Environmental Studies, Oberlin College (2003-2008)
  • BMusic in Historical Performance - Recorder and Baroque Flute, Oberlin Conservatory (2003-2008)

Research Interests: 

My work centers around bridging molecular ecology and evolution, including developing novel field and computational methods. I obtained my PhD in 2019 in Ecology and Evolution from Stony Brook University where I was advised by Dr. Liliana Dávalos and Dr. Patricia Wright. There, I studied the physiology and genetics of cyanide adaptation in bamboo-specialized mammals, the properties of the coalescent in populations with small and declining effective population sizes, and adaptation via gene duplication. I am currently an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in the Enard lab studying disease adaptation.

Currently, I am focusing on two projects:

1. Developing a deep learning method using a convolutional neural network (CNN) to detect ancient and partial selective sweeps. Current detection methods lack power to detect old, incomplete sweeps, causing identification bias toward recent selection events. This CNN will allow better analysis of ancient signals of incomplete sweeps.

2. Building a model of how pathogen pressure varies with environment. Infectious disease prevalence is controlled by complex interactions of host, pathogen, and environment, but broad patterns are hard to confirm. We are sequencing North American Myotis bats across habitats and correlating levels of genomic disease adaptation (using VIPs and BIPs) with local environmental conditions.

In addition, in my teaching and mentoring I endeavor to make learning a collaborative experience that supports and benefits from students of diverse backgrounds.