Andrew Webb at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

Dr. Andrew E. Webb

Brief biography

Andrew obtained a B.Sc. (cum laude) in Biotechnology (2008) and M.Sc. in Genetics (2010) from the University of California Davis (UC Davis). In his postgraduate studies at UC Davis, Andrew’s research focused on the genomics of developmental mutations in chickens under the supervision of Dr. Mary Delany. At this time, Andrew first utilized basic bioinformatic techniques in his research and became interested in the application of computer science in biology. Soon thereafter Andrew’s interest in bioinformatic became a central research interest.

To pursue his bioinformatic interest Andrew joined the laboratory of Dr. Mary O’Connell in 2010. Andrew’s research aims to identify the molecular underpinnings of observed phenotypic variations between human and our model system – the mouse using evolutionary and network theory.  There is growing literature that supports the link between positive selection (adaptive evolution) and protein functional shift (see our 2012 publication in MBE on the MPO enzyme). Andrew seeks to determine if the observed phenotypic differences in innate immune system response are governed by protein functional shift between human and mouse. His project involves large-scale comparative genomic analyses of complete vertebrate genomes. As such Andrew has designed and implemented many pipelines and specific software to achieve his goals. Andrew is also working with population genomic data to further understand the variation and fluctuation in allele frequencies that he observes in the immune systems of human and our model species – mouse. Andrew’s work has far reaching implications for medicine, therapeutics, clinical trials and the future of human health. Andrew’s research is funded by a Research Frontiers Programme award for fundamental science to Dr Mary J. O’Connell from  Science Foundation Ireland.

Andrew was selected for an oral presentation at SMBE2013 (society for molecular biology and evolution annual international conference) in Chicago.

Andrew successfully defended his PhD on the 10th December 2014 with Professor Aoife McLysaght (Trinity College Dublin) and Prof Richard O’Kennedy (Biomedical Diagnostics Institute Ireland) as his opponents – now introducing Dr Andrew Webb !!;-) Andrew will shortly begin his postdoctoral work in Temple University, Philadelphia, USA.



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