11th International Conference on Canine and Feline Genetics and Genomics (ICCFGG)

This past October, Bill and Andrew presented at the 11th International Conference on Canine and Feline Genetics and Genomics (ICCFGG) in Huntsville, Alabama. Hosted every two years, ICCFGG provides a platform for researchers and clinicians from all over the world to share the latest advancements in canine and feline genetic and genomic research. Andrew gave a presentation titled “Ultracontinuous genomes elucidate complex speciation patterns within Panthera” describing how recent advancements in genome assembly and long-read sequencing enable a high-resolution look into the evolutionary histories woven throughout the genomes of big cats for which he received the outstanding student oral presentation award.

Murphy Lab Undergraduate Researchers Fall 2022 Semester – Team Panthera

The field of phylogenomics is rapidly advancing, and the ability to assess species-level relationships at a genome-wide scale is becoming readily available. Recent discoveries in phylogenomics have shown how hybridization between closely related species confounds standard phylogenetic approaches. To identify the true species relationship, one must evaluate both phylogenetic and genomic data types at a genome-wide scale. Our project focuses on conducting whole genome phylogenomic analyses on each of the eight major cat lineages to understand better the distribution of evolutionary histories that have been woven throughout the genomes of the various cat species through rampant hybridization and selection over the past 15 million years. Using state-of-the-art software and novel techniques, we will also identify true species relationships by comparing phylogenetic and genomic data types in addition to identifying genes under selection for specific traits/phenotypes.

Team: Megan Yang, Trevor Martinez, Ramya Bathala, William Cameron Walker, Thanh-Thao Buu Ho

Murphy Lab Undergraduate Researchers Fall 2022 Semester – Team Recombination

This semester has seen Srushti and Julia join forces with returning Team Recombination members Richie and Zoya in their quest to generate recombination maps for diverse mammalian species including a Dolphin, a Cow, an Asian leopard Cat, a Wolf and a Polar Bear.

New Preprint

Check out our new preprint on bioRxiv


This June 3rd, University of Houston’s Department of Biology and Biochemistry hosted the fifth annual Southeast Texas Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics (STEGG) conference. This event brought together over 100 faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students for a full day of talks, poster presentations and networking opportunities. It was the first conference outing for our undergraduate researchers Richie and Sebastien who were very excited to be introduced to the concept of conference SWAG. On the day Nicole brought home an award for best post-doc talk for her presentation entitled “A genomic timescale for placental mammal evolution”.

Texas Genetics Society

In late March the lab attended the 49th Annual meeting of the Texas Genetics Society in The Stella Hotel here in College Station, with Nicole winning a prize for her presentation entitled “Karyotypic stasis and swarming influenced the evolution of viral tolerance in a large bat radiation.”

Biology of Genomes @ Cold Spring Harbour

Earlier this year Andrew and Nicole were shipped North to attend the Biology of Genomes Meeting in the beautiful surrounds of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in New York. Aside from all the wonderful science presented at the meeting, the famous CSHL Lobster dinner was a particular highlight. And while a caricature drawing of Andrew and Nicole was not the souvenir Bill was hoping for, it was the one he got!

Murphy Lab Undergraduate Researchers Spring 2022 Semester

Last Spring, we were joined by Sebastian, Zoya, Melinda and Richie who spent a semester in the lab learning basic bioinformatic skills and building recombination maps for various mammalian species including a gorilla, a fruit Bat, a Blue Whale and a Naked Mole Rat.

American Genetics Association in Snowbird, Utah

The Murphy Lab recently attended the annual meeting of the American Genetics Association in Snowbird, Utah. The theme of this year’s meeting was Conservation Genomics: Current Applications and Future Directions. And as if we weren’t already spoiled by two days of brilliant and insightful conservation talks, we were also treated to a fresh fall of snow! Here we are with AGA manager-extraordinaire Anjanette Baker on a quick foray out into the snowy mountains.

We’re delighted to welcome GENE Ph.D. student Isabella Childers to the lab!

“I graduated in 2021 from Clemson University, South Carolina with a Bachelor in Genetics. In the spring of 2022, I joined the Murphy lab as a genetics PhD student. I am currently working on reconstructing the genome assembly of the aardvark and Hoffmann’s two-toed sloth which will be used to help reconstruct the ancestral placental mammal karyotype and gene order.”


Congratulations to the newest Murphy Lab Doctors – Dr. Kevin Bredemeyer and (double) Dr. Alexandra Myers DVM on their recent graduation. Although we’re very sad to see them go, Kevin is now a Bioinformatic Analyst for Catalytic and Alex now works as a veterinary diagnostic clinician in sunny Brisbane, Australia.

This week Andrew Harris, a Ph.D. student with the GENE program, joined the lab to work on Felid Phylogenomics

We recently welcomed a new postdoctoral associate to the lab, Dr. Nicole Foley. Nicole obtained her Ph.D. at Emma Teeling’s Bat Lab in University College Dublin, where she worked on the role of telomeres in bat aging. Nicole is currently studying the role of recombination, hybridization and chromosome evolution in mammalian phylogenomics, as part of a new 3-year NSF award to improve phylogenetic inference.

Congratulations to Dr. Gang Li, former Murphy Lab Research Associate, who is starting his new lab at the College of Life Science, Shaanxi Normal University, in China.

Former graduate student Victor Mason’s paper on Comparative Southeast Asian Biogeography was just published in the Journal of Heredity. His paper describes the application of genomic tools to museum specimens to infer the evolutionary history and phylogeography of several forest-dependent mammals: Sunda colugos, lesser and greater mouse deer, and Sunda pangolins. This work was peformed in collaboration with Dr. Kris Helgen, University of Adelaide.