Pille Hallast, Ph.D.

Associate Research Scientist

Genetic diversity and evolution of complex genomic regions and their association to phenotypes, with a particular focus on the male-specific Y chromosome

I have always been fascinated by the genetic diversity of the genome, both in terms of its functional consequences, as well as its enormous power as a population genetics tool. My previous studies have focused on population genetics, history and phylogeographic patterns of humans and great apes, and the effects of Y-chromosomal genetic diversity on male in/sub-fertility. Over the years I have become increasingly interested in the diversity and evolution of complex regions and their potential association to phenotypes. Chromosome Y in particular, presents with unique challenges but at the same time offers unique opportunities, with obvious translational implications on male fertility, but also as a tool to investigate male-specific patterns of population structure and migration history.

I am currently utilising long-read sequencing technologies and chromatin interaction methods to interrogate previously poorly studied regions, with a longer term research goal of re-evaluating the evolution and structural diversity of known and novel complex genomic regions.