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Carl Veller

As a Branco Weiss Fellow, Dr. Carl Veller will investigate the health consequences of genetic variation at human centromeres. Centromeres are the genomic sites where the chromosome segregation machinery attaches during cell division, and are some of the least explored regions of the human genome. Dr. Veller’s primary focus will be the effect of centromeric variation on infertility and cancer, health issues for which chromosome mis-segregation is a frequent cause.


South Africa

Academic Career

  • Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 2019-2020
  • PhD, Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, 2019
  • PhD candidate, Department of Economics, Harvard University, 2012-2014
  • Undergraduate studies, Applied Mathematics and Economics, University of Cape Town, 2008-2011

Major Awards

  • James F. Crow Early Career Researcher Award, Genetics Society of America, 2020

In the News


Branco Weiss Fellow Since

Research Category
Evolutionary and population genetics

Research Location
University of California, Davis, USA

Centromeres are the sites on eukaryotic chromosomes where the segregation machinery attaches during cell division. Given this fundamental role in chromosome segregation, variation at human centromeres has been predicted to influence health outcomes for which chromosome mis-segregation is a frequent cause, such as infertility and cancer. However, human centromeres remain poorly characterized from a population genomic perspective, owing to their repetitive sequence content. This has prevented us from harnessing large population genomic databases to understand centromeres’ health effects.
Details of Research
Dr. Carl Veller will use novel methods to identify centromere variants in large population genomic databases that contain clinical health data. Based on this identification, he will use modern population genomic methods to discover the health effects of centromeric variation. Then, using long-read sequence assemblies of human centromeres, Dr. Veller will investigate the structural and molecular basis of centromeres’ effects on human health. In addition, using pedigrees within population genomic databases, he will test whether contravention of Mendel’s first law at centromeres underlies their effects on human fertility.