Nandita Garud

Nandita is an assistant professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department at UCLA. She is interested in understanding how natural populations evolve and has been focusing on bacteria in the human microbiome and Drosophila melanogaster.

Nandita completed her M.S. in Statistics and Ph.D. in Genetics at Stanford University in  Dr. Dmitri Petrov’s lab  where she developed a new statistical method to detect signatures of rapid adaptation in Drosophila melanogaster population genomic data. Nandita completed herpostdoctoral work at the Gladstone Institute at UCSF in Dr. Katie Pollard’s lab studying the evolution of bacteria in the human microbiome.

CV, Github, Google Scholar

Email: ngarud at ucla dot edu.

Postdoctoral Scholars

William Shoemaker 

Will is an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Biology who is working on statistical approaches to infer the distribution of fitness effects for mutations in the gut microbiome. He is broadly focused on examining the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of microorganisms through computational, empirical, and theoretical means. He completed his Ph.D. at Indiana University in Dr. Jay T. Lennon’s lab, where he examined the ecology and evolution of energy-limited microbial populations.

Graduate Students


Leah Briscoe

Leah is an NSF GRFP PhD student in the Bioinformatics IDP working on statistical methods for the analysis of population level microbiome data. She completed her BS at UCLA in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology with a minor in Bioinformatics. She is fascinated by the ways in which microbial communities aid and adapt to hosts, and how this community transforms through time.

Mariana Harris

Mariana Harris is a Biomathematics PhD student working on statistical methods to detect selection. Mariana completed her B.S. in Applied Mathematics at Instituto Técnologico Autónomo de México (ITAM). She is interested in developing mathematical and statistical models that shed light on how populations adapt and interact.


Ricky Wolff

Ricky Wolff is a masters student in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. He is working on developing statistical methods and modeling tools to understand how inter-species interactions affect strain replacement in the gut microbiome. Before coming to UCLA, he completed his B.A. in mathematics at Columbia, working in cancer genomics after graduation. In his free time, he enjoys playing guitar and camping, and hopes to continue to study microbial ecology as a PhD.

Albert Xue

Albert Xue is an incoming Bioinformatics PhD student . His project focuses on statistical methods to detect selection in the microbiome. Albert completed a dual degree in Math and Computer Science from Duke University, and is broadly interested in exploring population genetics through novel domains like the microbiome as well as the intersection of pop gen and machine learning.
Undergraduate Researchers

Daisy Chen

Daisy is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in Computer Science and Computational and Systems Biology. She is broadly interested in the use of big data to understand complex biological systems, and she is particularly concerned with issues of environmental sustainability. Daisy hopes to continue studying computational biology in graduate school.

Kevin Delao
 Kevin joins us as part of the BIG summer program. He is currently completing his Masters in Computer Science over at California State University Los Angeles. He is interested in neural prosthetic technology and hope to one day develop software to improve the current prosthetic models. He is also really interested in astronomy and want to get into astrophotography someday. In his off time, he enjoys hiking and finding new trails to explore.
Rahul Natarajan
Rahul Natarajan is a junior at UCLA studying Mathematics and Computer Science. He is interested in leveraging big data and various computational methods to improve healthcare systems. In his free time, Rahul enjoys playing and watching soccer.
Maya Singh
Maya joins us as part of the BIG summer progarm. She graduated with her BS in Computational & Systems Biology with a Bioinformatics Concentration from UCLA. Her broad research interests are in utilizing computational and statistical tools to understand disease mechanisms and spread. This manifests in an interest in microbiomes, population genetics, and disease modelling.
Former Lab Members:
Etan Dieppa (BS in Microbiology and General (Human) Biology from the University of Puerto Rico )
Shavonna Jackson (BS in Integrative Biology with a minor in Computer Science at Harvard College)
Sara Thornburgh (BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Sara Makanani (MS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)
Katherine Zhang (HS student from the Harker School in San Jose)



Join us! The lab is recruiting Postdocs, graduate students, and undergrads.