Jeffrey Townsend, PhD

Elihu Associate Professor of Biostatistics and Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Director of Bioinformatics, Yale Center for Analytical Sciences

Departments & Organizations

School of Public Health: Biostatistics | Climate Change and Health | Public Health Modeling Concentration

Center for Biomedical Data Science

Faculty Research

Medical Informatics, Yale Center for

Yale Cancer Center: Genomics, Genetics, and Epigenetics

Yale Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS): Computational Biology and Bioinformatics: Computational Approaches to Functional and Integrative Genomics | Microbiology: Molecular Genetics


Professor Townsend received his Ph.D. in 2002 in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University, under the advisement of Daniel Hartl. His Ph.D. was entitled "Population genetic variation in genome-wide gene expression: modeling, measurement, and analysis", and constituted the first population genetic analysis of genome-wide gene expression variation. After making use of the model budding yeast S. cerevisiae for his Ph.D. research, Dr. Townsend accepted an appointment as a Miller Fellow at the University of California-Berkeley in the Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, where he worked to develop molecular tools, techniques, and analysis methodologies for functional genomics studies with the filamentous fungal model species Neurospora crassa, co-advised by Berkeley fungal evolutionary biologist John Taylor and molecular mycologist Louise Glass. In 2004, he accepted his first appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut. In 2006 he was appointed as an Assistant Professor the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale University. In 2013 he was appointed as an Associate Professor of Biostatistics in the Yale School of Public Health, and in 2017 he was named Elihu Associate Professor of Biostatistics.

Education & Training

PhD Harvard University, Organismic & Evolutionary Biology (2002)
ScB Brown University, Biology (1994)
Miller Postdoctoral Fellw University of California, Berkeley

Honors & Recognition

  • Translational Research PrizeYale Cancer Center (2017)

  • Young Investigator's PrizeAmerican Society of Naturalists (2005)

  • Ph.D. Thesis ranked among the Top Four Life Science ThesesCouncil of Graduate Schools (2002)

  • Walter M. Fitch Prize for Best Young InvestigatorSociety for Molecular Biology and Evolution (2001)

Professional Service

  • Yale College Road Runners (2008 - Present) Advisor


  • Ebolavirus sequence analysis and epidemic modeling Freetown, Sierra Leone (2014 - 2015)

    Using Ebolavirus genomic and epidemiological data, we are conducting joint analyses of both data types to fit dynamic transmission models for the major Ebolavirus outbreak in Sierra Leone. Our analysis evaluates the degree of underreporting of disease cases, and the degree of social clustering of...

  • Yaws Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo (2012)

    Dynamic mathematical modeling predicting treatment necessary for eradication of Yaws

  • Human Hookworm Zanzibar, Tanzania (2011)

    Dynamic mathematical modeling evaluating the efficacy of treatment of Human Hookworm Infection

  • Antibiotic resistance Tromso, Norway (2010 - 2020)

    Evaluate trace antibiotics in the environment as an environmental toxin

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