Tara Alpert

Tara Alpert, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral fellow | Yale School of Public Health | Department of Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases
Laboratory of Epidemiology of Public Health (LEPH) | 60 College St. | New Haven, CT 06510
Email: [email protected] | Twitter | Google Scholar

BS in biochemistry – Washington University
Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry – Yale University

Until now, I’ve always been a biochemist, a field which thrives in the microscopic world of molecules and yearns to discover how they move and function. For me, a cell was “big picture”. Suddenly, I am a part of a team that studies not cells, not organs, not even organisms, but the dynamic movement of entire populations. So how did I get here? I was raised in southern California and moved incrementally eastward to Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri) for my B.S. in biochemistry and then to Yale for my Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry (with a one-year break in between spent doing educational work in Northern Israel). For my dissertation work at Yale, I relied heavily on a specific long-read sequencing technology produced by Oxford Nanopore Technologies to research the coordination between splicing and transcription in budding yeast. About 3 days after my thesis defense, the first travel restrictions were set into place to combat the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Everybody was sent to work at home, and the world was on pause. Well, for most people… for those working in the Grubaugh lab it was all hands on deck, 24/7. When I found out that they were using Nanopore sequencing to track the spread of this virus, I asked to temporarily join their team and put my sequencing knowledge to use for immediate public impact (and an excellent excuse to leave the house during quarantine). Before long, we decided that I would stay on past the initial corona-madness as a postdoctoral fellow and continue the important work to understand how genetic evolution of the virus is impacting our world and our health. I am very excited to bring a unique biochemical perspective to this new-to-me world of epidemiology and hopefully learn some cool statistical modeling along the way.

Apart from science, I am an avid woodworker and a quick tour through my apartment will show you the evolution of my talent from a slapped together kitchen island to an elegant bookcase. Pretty much everything in my house is that made of wood, was made by me (except the coffee table… but I have plans to fix that). I also love photography, hiking, and man’s best friend. I’m one of New Haven’s renowned dog sitters, by my own standards, but I’m for the most part off the market now taking care of my very own new addition, Cody!