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Susanne Pfeifer

School of Life Sciences
LSC 340
Assistant Professor
TEMPE Campus


Susanne Pfeifer is an Assistant Professor in the ASU School of Life Sciences, the Center for Evolution & Medicine, and the Center for Mechanisms of Evolution.

The Pfeifer lab is interested in studying genetic and evolutionary processes by combining large-scale, high-throughput sequence data analysis, model-based statistical inference, and modeling with two main foci: (i) to elucidate the causes and consequences of mutation and recombination rate variation (with a focus on primates) and (ii) to understand how natural selection shapes patterns of genetic variation in populations (with particular interest in understanding the process of adaptation during rapid environmental change).


Susanne Pfeifer earned a B.Sc. and M.Sc. from the Max Plank Institute for Computer Science & Saarland University (Germany). She earned her D.Phil. in Statistics at the University of Oxford (UK) advised by Gil McVean, working on the statistical challenges involved in the estimation of variation in mutation and recombination rates from high throughput sequencing data, with direct applications to primate population genetics in a collaboration with Molly Przeworskis Lab at the University of Chicago and Peter Donnellys Lab at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford. She completed her postdoctoral work as a Vienna International Postdoctoral Program fellow at the Center for Integrative Bioinformatics in Vienna (Austria) and worked as a research associate at EPFL (Switzerland).

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Research Interests

Research in the Pfeifer Lab is focused on analysing high-throughput sequencing data to learn about genetic and evolutionary processes. In particular, we focus on three topics within evolutionary genomics, also intersecting broadly with other related fields: 

  • Anthropological - mutation and recombination rate variation in primates
  • Ecological - adaptation due to recent environmental change
  • Clinical - virus evolution

Please refer to our lab webpage for additional details.


Recent, representative publications:
(lab members indicated; * authors contributed equally)‚Äč


Spring 2020
Course Number Course Title
BIO 498 Pro-Seminar
Fall 2019
Course Number Course Title
BIO 498 Pro-Seminar
Spring 2019
Course Number Course Title
BIO 498 Pro-Seminar
EVO 598 Special Topics
BIO 598 Special Topics
Fall 2018
Course Number Course Title
BIO 494 Special Topics
EVO 598 Special Topics
BIO 598 Special Topics
Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
BIO 340 General Genetics