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Susanne Pfeifer

Assistant Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4501
Associate Faculty
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4501
Asst Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4501
Asst Professor
Faculty, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4501
Biography: 

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 and model-based statistical inference 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).

Education: 

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 Przeworski’s Lab at the University of Chicago and Peter Donnelly’s 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 the Swiss Institute for Technology (Switzerland).

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.

Publications: 

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

  • C.J. Versoza and S.P. Pfeifer. 2022. Computational prediction of bacteriophage host ranges. Microorganisms, 10(1):149.
  • L.A. Bergeron, S. Besenbacher, T.N. Turner, C.J. Versoza, R.J. Wang, A.L. Price, E. Armstrong, M. Riera, J. Carlson, H. Chen, M.W. Hahn, K. Harris,  A.S.L.N.M. Kleppe, E.H. López-Nandam, P. Moorjani, S.P. Pfeifer, G.P. Tiley, A.D. Yoder, G. Zhang and M.H. Schierup. 2022. The mutationathon highlights the importance of reaching standardization in estimates of pedigree-based germline mutation rates. eLife, 11:e73577.
  • S.P. Pfeifer. 2021. Studying mutation rate evolution in primates – the effects of computational pipeline and parameter choices. GigaScience, 10(10):giab069.
  • C.J. Versoza*, J.A. Rivera*, E.B. Rosenblum, C. Vital García, J. Jaime Zúñiga-Vega, D.K. Hews, S.P. Pfeifer. 2021. The recombination landscapes of spiny lizards (genus Sceloporus). G3 (Bethesda), jkab402.
  • A. Crane*, C.J. Versoza*T. Hua, R. Kapoor, L. Lloyd, R. Mehta, J. Menolascino, A. Morais, S. Munig, Z. Patel, D. Sackett, B. Schmit, M. Sy, S.P. Pfeifer. 2021. Phylogenetic relationships and codon usage bias amongst cluster K mycobacteriophages. G3 (Bethesda), 11(11):jkab291.
  • M. Milhaven, E. Hastings, D. Brister, L. Cevallos, S. Chilukuri, A. Diyya, A. Garg, R. Hernandez, D. Kelly, K. Lazo, J. Le, G. Maag, P.D. Marfatia, R. Mehta, A. Nejad, J. Porche, A. Queiroz, D. Sackett, P. Santos Molina, T. Slade, M. So, K. Thakur, A. Urquidez Negrete, S. WackettS. Weiss, L. McCarthy,  K. Wheaton, A.D. Rudner, J.P. McCutcheon, S.P. Pfeifer. 2021. Complete genome sequence of the Microbacterium bacteriophage Erla. Microbiol. Resour. Announc., 10(3):e01354-20.
  • S.P. Pfeifer. Spontaneous mutation rates. In The Molecular Evolutionary Clock. Theory and Practice. Springer Nature. 
  • A. Crane, J. Abaidoo, G. Beltran, D. Fry, C. Furey, N. Green, R. JohalB. La Rosa, C. Lopez Jimenez, L. Luong, G. Maag, J. Porche, L. Reyes, A. Robinson, S. Sabbara, L. Soto Herrera, A. Urquidez Negrete, P. Wilson, K. Geiler-Samerotte, S.P. Pfeifer. 2020. The complete genome sequence of the Staphylococcus bacteriophage Metroid. G3 (Bethesda), 10(9): 2975-2979.
  • S.P. Pfeifer. 2020. A fine-scale genetic map for vervet monkeys. Mol. Biol. Evol., 37(7): 1855-1865.
  • M. Apata and S.P. Pfeifer. 2020. Recent population genomic insights in to the genetic basis of arsenic tolerance in humans: the difficulties of identifying positively selected loci in strongly bottlenecked populations. Heredity, 124(2): 253-262.
  • R.B. Harris, K. Irwin, M.R. Jones, S. Laurent, R.D.H. Barrett, M.W. Nachman, J.M. Good, C.R. Linnen, J.D. Jensen, S.P. Pfeifer. 2020. The population genetics of crypsis in vertebrates: recent insights from mice, hares, and lizards. Heredity, 124(1): 1-14.
  • R.D.H. Barrett*, S. Laurent*, R. Mallarino*, S.P. Pfeifer, C.C. Xu, M. Foll, K. Wakamatsu, J. Duke-Cohan, J.D. Jensen, H.E. Hoekstra. 2019. Linking genetic variation to survival in wild mice. Science, 363(6426): 499-504.
  • L.A.P. TranS.P. Pfeifer. 2018. Germline mutation rates in Old World monkeys. eLS, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester.
  • S.P. Pfeifer. 2017. Direct estimate of the spontaneous germ line mutation rate in African green monkeys. Evolution, 71(12):2858-2870.
  • S.P. Pfeifer. 2017. The demographic and adaptive history of the African green monkey. Mol. Biol. Evol., 34 (5): 1055-1065.
  • S.P. Pfeifer. 2017. From next-generation resequencing reads to a high quality variant data set. Heredity, 118 (2):111-124.
Spring 2022
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 493Honors Thesis
BIO 494Special Topics
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 498Pro-Seminar
Fall 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 492Honors Directed Study
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
Spring 2021
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 494Special Topics
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 498Pro-Seminar
Fall 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 494Special Topics
MBB 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 495Undergraduate Research
BIO 498Pro-Seminar
Spring 2020
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 498Pro-Seminar
Fall 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 498Pro-Seminar
Spring 2019
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 498Pro-Seminar
EVO 598Special Topics
BIO 598Special Topics
Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 494Special Topics
EVO 598Special Topics
BIO 598Special Topics
Spring 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 340General Genetics