Verity Hill

Verity Hill, MSc, PhD

Postdoc Associate | 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 | Blog | Yale profile | Google Scholar

BA in Biological Sciences – University of Oxford, UK
MSc in Control of Infectious Diseases – London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
PhD in Evolutionary Biology – University of Edinburgh, UK

I’m from just outside London in England (I’m not allowed to say I’m actually from London given that there were sheep near my childhood home). My undergraduate degree had a heavy focus on evolutionary theory and how it applies to all aspects of biology and understanding life (my second great biology love is social insects), but it also took place during the Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. I therefore ended up wanting to work out how to apply evolution in a way that could help to mitigate some human suffering.

After a brief foray into proper public health during my masters, I started a PhD in phylodynamics: the study of combining evolution, immunology and epidemiology to explain spatial and temporal dynamics of pathogens (mostly RNA viruses in practice). I started on developing new methodologies to combine genomic and non-genomic data to explore the effect of public health interventions to control Ebola in Sierra Leone, but had to pivot pretty quickly in 2020 to studying SARS-CoV-2. I was part of the SARS-CoV-2 genomics consortium in the UK (COG-UK) and contributed to developing software to better utilise the enormous amount of genomic data that was produced, as well as to large-scale studies examining how SARS-CoV-2 spreads in the UK and further afield. I’ve also spent the better part of a year thinking (and occasionally writing) about how variants of concern evolve.

In Nate’s lab, I want to explore the impact of a whole new set of evolutionary pressures by working on arboviruses, mostly Dengue virus, and trying to develop understanding of the dynamics of these understudied diseases. I regret dropping ecology as soon as I could in undergrad.

Beyond my computer, I love overly complicated board games, pub quizzes, red wine, cheese and bad films.