b>Harvard College Fellow</b>
with Yaniv Erlich, Columbia University’s Department of Computer Science, New York Genome Center

Investigating the utility of crowdsourced genomic and genealogical data for risk prediction, forensics, and anthropological studies.

Side projects:

  • Pedigree topology extraction from a GEDCOM family tree file (view on github)
  • Belief propagation for simple Mendelian traits on arbitrary pedigrees (view on github)
  • Genetic covariance matrix construction from GEDmatch relative finder match results (view on github)

Graduate Student
with Andrew W. Murray, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University

Experimentally tested the importance of trait acquisition order in the evolution of differentiated multicellularity using methods from synthetic biology. Mentored one high school student, one undergraduate student, and three graduate students (during their rotations). Supported by NSF GRFP, DoD NDSEG, and Harvard James Mills Peirce fellowships.

Side projects:

  • Identifying and quantifying distance between sister centromeres in yeast fluorescence images
  • Critical Assessment of Genome Interpretation 2013 PGP challenge: re-identification of anonymous genome donors (see website for report and presentation)
  • Recovering the lab oligo and strain databases after an unplanned server shutdown
  • Created a GUI flow cytometry data analyzer in MATLAB (view on github)

Undergraduate Researcher
with Eric H. Davidson, Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, Caltech

Studied the gene regulatory network underlying larval mesoderm specification in the sea urchin, with particular focus on the tbrain gene and its regulators/targets. Worked closely with Paola Oliveri (now at UCL).

with David J. Anderson, Department of Biology and Biological Engineering, Caltech

Helped develop and run a novel fruit fly behavioral assay to identify mutants with abnormal responses to noxious stimuli. Worked closely with Tim Lebestky (now at Williams).


  • Wahl ME, Murray AW (2016). Multicellularity makes somatic differentiation evolutionarily stable. PNAS113 (30): 8362–8367. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1608278113
  • Lavrentovich MO, Wahl ME, Nelson DR, Murray AW (2016). Spatially constrained growth enhances conversional meltdown. Biophys J 110(12): 2800-8. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2016.05.024
  • Wahl ME, Hahn J, Gora K, Davidson EH, Oliveri P (2009). The cis-regulatory system of the tbrain gene: Alternative use of multiple modules to promote skeletogenic expression in the sea urchin embryo. Dev Biol 335(2): 428-41. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.08.005

Unpublished manuscripts

  • Kaplanis J, Gordon A, Wahl M, Gershovits M, Markus B, Sheikh M, Gymrek M, Bhatia G, MacArthur DG, Price A, Erlich Y. Quantitative analysis of population-scale family trees using millions of relatives. Submitted; pre-print available on bioRxiv

Selected research talks

  • Wahl ME, Murray AW. "A synthetic yeast model for differentiation and division of labor." American Society for Cell Biology, 2014, Philadelphia, PA.
  • Wahl ME. "Genome-profile matching in the CAGI Personal Genome Project challenge." Critical Assessment of Genome Interpretation Conference, 2013, Berlin, Germany.
  • Wahl ME, Murray AW. "Engineering terminal differentiation and division of labor." Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP) Cooperation and Major Evolutionary Transitions Conference, 2013, Santa Barbara, CA.
  • Wahl ME, Murray AW. "A yeast model for division of labor." Physics of Living Systems Conference, 2012, New Haven, CT.
  • Wahl ME, Oliveri P, Davidson EH. "Identification of a novel tbrain cis-regulatory module.” Developmental Biology of the Sea Urchin Conference, 2008, Woods Hole, MA.