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Jacob L. Steenwyk

Post-doctoral scholar; Scientific Consultant, University of California, Berkeley

My research, conducted as part of the Antonis Rokas Lab at Vanderbilt University, aims to utilize various 'omics approaches to understand the evolution and function of fungal genomes. I implement computational tools to conduct analyses of species relationships, sequence evolution, and mutational variation across the fungal tree of life or populations thereof. These analyses can inform the evolution and/or divergence of traits important to our lives such as pathogenicity and bioindustrial traits like fermentative capacity. More generally, I am most interested in how populations and/or species evolve, diverge, and what genomic elements and traits define them.

Current projects involve wine associated strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae (baker’s yeast) and the non-conventional wine yeast genus Hanseniaspora. Past work includes study of the primary human and animal pathogen, Cryptococcus gattii.

To facilitate these analyses, I implement multiple programming languages such as Python, R, bash, and awk. Numerous scripts that I have written are publicly available among my github repositories ( These repositories aim to enable the analysis phylogenetic, molecular, and related analyses.


  • 2016–2019
    Graduate Researcher, Vanderbilt University
  • 2015–2016
    Graduate Researcher, Clark University
  • 2013–2014
    Summer Researcher, University of Southern California


  • 2016 
    Clark University, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Master's of Science
  • 2015 
    Clark University, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Bachelor's of Arts


Howard Hughes Medical Institute James H. Gilliam Fellow