Jennifer E. "Piper" Below

Jennifer E. "Piper" Below

Assistant professor, Human Genetics Center, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

Jennifer E. “Piper” Below is an assistant professor in the Human Genetics Center at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston in the School of Public Health. She work to understand the genetic basis of human diseases, from complex traits (in which multiple environmental and genetic factors play a role in susceptibility) like type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, to rare Mendelian disorders such as distal arthrogryposis, ataxia, or opsismodysplasia (which can be caused by a mutation in just a single gene).

Specifically, she spends time thinking about novel mathematical or statistical approaches to finding genes that contribute to risk, particularly approaches that work in related people (families). She recently published a method called PRIMUS (yes, like the band...) that can read in raw genetic data for related people and from that information alone, draw the genealogy that fits the data. This is useful for correcting errors in family data and detecting family structures that we did not know were in our data.

In 2015, Dr. Below participated in a reddit science AMA, where she fielded hundreds of questions about her research. Now she’s a reddit moderator, helping other scientists through the process. Once, reddit even helped her find her dog.

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