Mooney Lab @ University of Southern California



Welcome! We are the Mooney Lab. Our goal is to use patterns of variation in the genome to understand the evolutionary and population histories of both humans and other species. We do this by implementing and developing computational and statistical methods to study the genome.

We are also interested in more broad population genetics questions such as: the genomic consequences of deleterious (non-neutral) mutations, where deleterious mutations tend to aggregate in the genome, and understanding patterns of genomic sharing through identity-by-descent segments and runs of homozygosity.

We are located at the University of Southern California (USC) in the Department of Quantitative and Computational Biology (QCB).






Our Research



For the last decade, population genetics has rapidly accelerated to new heights with the availability of sequence data. These data sets have provided valuable insights about population history, phenotypes, disease architecture, evolution, and genomic diversity.


Our lab uses empirical data analysis, simulation frameworks, and methods development to do the following: 1) infer the demography of populations, 2) understand the fitness impact of recessive variation, and 3) investigate complex trait architecture.

We focus primarily on integrating data from both human and non-human populations to develop a more complete picture of mechanisms that shape patterns of genomic sharing (in the form of identity-by-descent segments and runs of homozygosity) and deleterious variation. We are also interested in developing methods to infer the genealogical histories of admixed populations, and the equitable inclusion of underrepresented populations in genomics.





Join the Mooney Lab



We are glad you are interested in joining us!

I make every effort to create an inclusive lab environment where lab members not only learn the science but also are excited about the future of science. There are no required pre-requisites for joining the lab and lab members may come from any background. In the Mooney lab, most projects will include coding for genetic data analysis, some mathematics, simulation, and data visualization. Most of all, I want students to learn relevant skills for the next step in their career, in a lab where they feel like science is a place where they can grow and thrive.


Postdoctoral researchers

To inquire about postdoctoral positions, please write to Jazlyn at jazlynmo@usc.edu. Interest areas that would fit particularly well in the lab include the population genetics of runs of homozygosity, identity-by-descent segments, complex traits, and demographic inference.

Please include a CV and a short description (1-2 pages) of your research experience, interests, and ideas for work in the lab. Please put “Postdoc position” in the subject line of your email to jazlynmo@usc.edu. Please also list 2-3 professional references and include any recent work you’d like to share.


PhD students

Feel free to contact me and put “Graduate student position” in the subject line of your email to jazlynmo@usc.edu. We can talk about potential research interests and relevant projects in the lab.

Students should apply to USC’s Computational Biology and Bioinformatics (CBB) program. Our graduate program will give you experience in algorithms, statistics, and biology. During the first year, students will complete coursework as well as rotate in up to three CBB-affiliated labs. Students interested in completing a PhD in the lab should arrange to do one of their rotations with us. CBB admissions are handled by the admissions committee and not by individual labs.


Undergraduates, Master’s students, and others

We are looking to include USC undergraduates and Master's students on research projects. If you are interested in joining the lab, email me with the relevant header of either “Undergraduate student position” or " Master’s student position" in the subject line of your email to jazlynmo@usc.edu. Please include a CV, relevant course history, and statement of interest.

Experience with command line, Python, R, C/C++, would be beneficial but are not necessarily required.



Contact Us



Email: jazlynmo@usc.edu

We are located on the 4th floor of Ray R. Irani Hall (RRI) at the University of Southern California, in the University Park neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The closest parking structure is the Downey Way Structure.
USC Maps



Our Publications



2021
Mooney JA, Yohannes A, and Lohmueller KE. The impact of identity by descent on fitness and disease in dogs, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021; 118(16):e2019116118.



2019
Sura SA, Smith LL, Ambrose MR, Amorim CEG, Beichman AC, Gomez ACR, Juhn M, Kandlikar GS, Miller JS, Mooney J, Mummah RO, Lohmueller KE, Lloyd-Smith JO. Ten simple rules for giving an effective academic job talk. PLoS Comput Biol, 2019; 15:e1007163.



2018
Mooney JA, Huber CD, Service S, Sul JH, Marsden CD, Zhang Z, Sabatti C, Ruiz-Linares A, Bedoy G, Costa Rica/Colombia Consortium for Genetic Investigation of Bipolar Endophenotypes, Freimer N, Lohmueller KE. Understanding the hidden complexity of Latin American population isolates. Am J Hum Genet, 2018; 103:707-726.



The Team



Jazlyn Mooney (she/her)

Principal Investigator (jazlynmo@usc.edu)

Jazlyn is a Gabilan Assistant Professor in the Quantitative and Computational Biology section (QCB) of the Department of Biological Sciences at USC. Her research combines computational approaches with population genetics theory to better understand genetic variation, medical genetics, and human evolution. Jazlyn's CV

Jazlyn completed her undergraduate degree at the University of New Mexico where she studied human evolution with Jeffrey Long in the department of Anthropology. She completed her PhD in Human Genetics at UCLA in 2020 under the advisement of Kirk Lohmueller. At UCLA, Jazlyn studied genetic variation in admixed populations, complex traits in dogs, and conservation genomics. Afterward, she moved to Stanford’s Biology department for postdoctoral research with Noah Rosenberg; where she continued to study admixed populations with a focus on inference method development.

Fun fact from Jazlyn: When I am not in lab, I enjoy record collecting and going to concerts.


Tina Lasisi (she/her)

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Tina Lasisi is a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Mooney and Edge labs. Tina's background and interests fall within the realm of Biological Anthropology and complex trait genetics. Specifically, her research area includes understanding the evolution of human variation in 1) pigmentation and 2) scalp hair. Tina is also active in science communication. Check out Tina's website and her appearance on Dr. Janina Jeff's podcast, In Those Genes, episode Black Don't Crack.

Fun fact from Tina: I have a standard poodle.


Mengdi Chai

Undergraduate student

Mengdi is an undergraduate in the Quantitative Biology program and is interested in conservation genomics. Currently, Mengdi is using identity-by-descent segments to identify genes associated with coat color in tigers.

Fun fact from Mengdi: I have one hamster and he is cute! I decide to have two dogs, one cat, and two hamsters when I have my own apartment!

Anika Shrivastava

Undergraduate student

Anika is an undergraduate in the Quantitative Biology program and is interested in human genetics and disease. Anika is working on quantifying regions of the genome that harbor potential recessive lethal mutations by layering information from multiple types of genomic annotations.

Fun fact from Anika: I have been playing the piano for 15 years and have a minor in musical studies at USC.