Bridgett vonHoldt

Bridgett vonHoldt is an associate professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. Her research focuses on evolutionary genomics of admixed species, hybrid zones, and consequence of natural selection on the regulatory genome. She has carried out extensive studies on wild and domesticated canines. Her research has significant conservation applications for endangered species like the red wolf and gray wolf of North America. She also has discovered genetic factors that shape the evolution of social behavior of dogs as a result of their domestication from wolves. One of her research goals is to unravel genotype-phenotype evolution in in wild and domestic canines. She is specifically interested in the interaction of demography, genetic, and gene expression changes that shape fitness-related phenotypes. She earned her BS in Psychology from Eckerd College (St. Petersburg, Florida) but spent a lot of her time in the pathology lab performing necropsies on manatees. She then completed her Master’s at NYU in Biology followed by a PhD at UCLA under the mentorship of Bob Wayne, focused on the population and evolutionary genetics of North American canids. She then wanted to expand her research scope through two post-doc experiences. First, she shifted to explore the evolutionary dynamics of transposable elements and DNA methylation in the genome of cultivated rice under the mentorship of Brandon Gaut at UC Irvine. Next, she returned to UCLA as a bioinformatics fellow to examine the methylome between domestic dogs and gray wolves. She continues these integrated efforts when she established her research group at Princeton University’s EEB Department in 2013, where she is now an Associate Professor. She is the founder and director of the North American Canine Ancestry Project. She is also a co-founder and lead geneticist for the Gulf Coast Canine Project.