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Ryan Hernandez, PhD

Ryan Hernandez, PhD

Professor of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences

Ryan studies patterns of genetic variation in modern day populations to gain insight into their evolutionary history. His focus is on the development of population genetic models that can best explain observed data. Most recently, he has been evaluating models of background selection under parameters that are realistic for humans. Ryan’s scientific approach tends to be highly computational, often involving a thorough analysis of detailed simulations. 

Hernandez is the co-Vice Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, co-Director BMI: Biological and Medical Informatics Graduate Program, co-Director PROPEL: Post-baccalaureate Research Opportunities to Promote Equity in Learning, co-Director UCSF PREP: Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program and director UCSF Initiative for Digital Transformation.

Research Overview:

Hernandez’ research focuses on computational genomics and complements the department’s emerging strengths in quantitative sciences and genomics: First, he seeks to characterize the patterns of genetic variation within and between populations using large-scale genome resequencing data. A second branch of research in his lab focuses on developing novel population genetic simulation techniques. Such simulations are used to lend insight into the plausible evolutionary forces that have shaped patterns of genetic variation, including the implications of complex interactions among selected alleles in non-stationary demographic environments. His third branch of research seeks to exploit population genetic models of demographic history and natural selection to interrogate the genetic basis of disease. By capitalizing on recent theoretical advances, Dr. Hernandez is constructing models of population dynamics that will utilize genomic re-sequencing data to discover novel regions of the genome that underlie genetic susceptibility to disease and drug response.

Computational health science interests: