Emilia Huerta-Sanchez is an Assistant Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the Center for Computational and Molecular Biology at Brown University. Prior to Brown, Dr. Huerta-Sanchez was based at UC Merced in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology. Dr. Huerta-Sanchez obtained her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at Cornell University and her postdoctoral training at UC Berkeley in Statistics and Integrative Biology. She was born in Mexico and moved to the US when she was eleven years old. She always enjoyed her math courses in school, so she majored in mathematics at Mills College in Oakland, CA. As an undergraduate, Dr. Huerta-Sanchez attended two summer research programs (SIMU and MTBI) where she met several mentors who encouraged her to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematical research.
Her research is at the interface of Applied Mathematics, Statistics and Evolutionary Biology. Her current research interests involve developing methods to characterize how natural selection and past demographic events have shaped patterns of genetic variation in human populations. In particular, she is interested in modeling interbreeding from Neanderthals into modern humans to detect the effects and consequences of Neanderthal mutations. Understanding the sources and patterns of DNA mutations within humans elucidates our shared history and is vital to understand genetic disease risk.