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Andrew N. McDavid, Ph.D.

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Office: (585) 275-5983

Research Labs

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Professional Background

I received my PhD in Statistics in June, 2016 from the University of Washington. From 2006-2011, I worked as a systems analyst in a genomics lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where I experienced the dawn and sunset of array-based genome-wide association studies. Until I came to Rochester, I had only known the west coast, growing up in the suburbs of Seattle, then attending Pomona College in southern California to receive my BA in mathematics in 2006.


I am interested in methods and applications of single cell gene expression assays. There is great hope, for good reason, that measuring expression profiles in single cells will aid in immunological and cancer research, and provide new insight in cellular biology (though it still only provides a cross-sectional sample of cells at various points in their lifespan and cell cycle.) However, the biochemical, computational and statistical challenges are sizable.

I am focusing on the combinations of all three. Through the use of unique molecular identifiers, it may be possible to better understand the biases and sources of variability current protocols introduce. I write R software to allow easier manipulation of single-cell data sets (which are sometimes almost as "tall" as they are "wide"). I develop statistical methods that accommodate the bimodality of single cell data, which yield more sensitive and better calibrated tests.

Statistical questions I am currently interested in include:
Graphical modeling and gene-gene interaction networks
Clustering and distance measures for zero-inflated data
Gene-enrichment analysis
Borrowing strength and regularizing vector generalized linear models through empirical Bayes' procedures
2nd-order univariate phenomena, such as exceptional stability or heterogeneity of expression (and how this can be identified given differing levels of technical variability).


Faculty Appointments


Journal Articles

McDavid A, Finak G, Gottardo R. "The contribution of cell cycle to heterogeneity in single-cell RNA-seq data." Nature biotechnology.. 2016 Jun 9; 34(6):591-3.

Slichter CK, McDavid A, Miller HW, Finak G, Seymour BJ, McNevin JP, Diaz G, Czartoski JL, McElrath MJ, Gottardo R, Prlic M. "Distinct activation thresholds of human conventional and innate-like memory T cells." JCI insight.. 2016 Jun 2; 1(8)

Slichter, Chloe K; McDavid, Andrew; Miller, Hannah; Finak, Greg; Seymour, Brenda; McNevin, John; Diaz, Gabriela; Czartoski, Julie; McElrath, Margaret J; Gottardo, Raphael;. "Inflammatory signals control human MAIT cell effector function". The Journal of Immunology. 2016; 196(1): 204-208.