Elde Lab department of human genetics UNIVERSITY OF UTAH
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Alesia was born and raised in the mountains of western North Carolina.  She completed her BS in Chemistry at UNC-Wilmington where, under the mentorship of Paulo Almeida, she studied the thermodynamic mechanisms of cytolytic peptides.


Alesia started her graduate work with Joe Thornton at the University of Oregon in 2009.  She applied her biochemical background to an evolutionary framework and investigated the genetic and molecular mechanisms for the evolution of DNA-specificity in the steroid receptor family of transcription factors.  Alesia is interested in questions that exist at the interface of biochemistry, biophysics and evolutionary biology; specifically, she aims to understand the molecular mechanisms by which complex biological systems evolved to their modern forms and functions.


Alesia is co-advised by Cedric Feschotte and is using viral-host interactions as a model to investigate the dynamic effects of genetic conflict on the evolution of protein function and genomic architecture.

Alesia McKeown



Damon Runyon/HHMI fellow

evolutionary genetics & cell biology