Thursday, July 29, 2010
James Cai is a new Assistant Professor at Texas A&M!
James Cai, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab, has accepted an offer for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at Texas A&M University, Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences. He will be moving in September and is already starting to build a computational genomics laboratory there. (See the ad for a postdoctoral position in James's new lab.) His group will focus on computational research in population genomics and molecular evolution, applying population genetic theory to modern biological data and developing statistical tests and computational tools to investigate evolutionary processes shaping genome variability patterns within and between species. James joined our lab in 2006 after the completion of his Ph.D. at the University of Hong Kong. Viola Luo, James's wife pictured above, moved from Hong Kong to the Bay Area and joined James at Stanford in 2007, where she started her career in regulatory affairs of clinical trials at Stanford Cancer Center. In our lab, James focused on understanding how positive selection shapes patterns of polymorphism in the human genome and published a key paper that showed for the first time that positive selection is indeed pervasive in the human genome and does leave the expected signatures in the patterns of polymorphism. See the description of this research in Stanford Daily. James was also interested how the timing of the gene's entry into the genome (gene age) interacts with the gene's importance to the functioning of the organism and the way natural selection shapes its evolution. He published a series of papers on this topic as well. Finally, James is famous for creating a set of Matlab based toolkits for population genetics and molecular evolution. We are all extremely proud of James and wish him the best of luck in his brilliant young career!