About Me:

*Note* In Fall 2020, I started a new position as an Assistant Professor at UT Austin. This page is maintained for archival purposes only. Please see my new website, vagheesh.cns.utexas.edu for updates.

I am a post-doctoral fellow in the Reich Laboratory at the Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School. My research focuses on using the powerful new scientific instrument of ancient DNA — which allows us to watch humans evolve over time in a way that has never been practical before — to understand the evolution of complex and medically relevant traits. A major focus of my work is building efficient statistical and computational tools for large-scale genomic data. I completed my PhD in Mathematical Genomics and Medicine at the University of Cambridge on a Wellcome Trust fellowship where I was supervised by Richard Durbin and Chris Tyler-Smith. Prior to moving to Cambridge, I was a student at Harvard University, where I studied Biostatistics.


Selected publications as first/co-first author:

Full publication list on Google Scholar

1) Narasimhan, V. M.*, Patterson, N. J.*, et al; (2019); The Formation of Human Populations in South and Central Asia; Science; 365:eaat7487; (Paper, Supplementary Materials, Genotype data, Online Data Visualizer, doi: 10.1126/science.aat7487)

- This study detailing the parallel genetic history of two subcontinents, Europe and South Asia over the past 10,000 years, is the single largest ancient DNA study to date (n=523), and the most widely accessed genetics/genomics paper in the history of the bioRxiv pre-print server.

2) Shinde, V.*, Narasimhan, V. M.*, Rohland, N., et.al; (2019); An Ancient Harappan Genome Lacks Ancestry from Steppe Pastoralists or Iranian Farmers; Cell; 179:1–7; (PaperGenotype dataOnline Data Visualizer, doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.08.048)

- This study describes a major technical advance in the field of ancient DNA, generating over 100 libraries from a single sample to enable the recovery of genetic material from hot and humid environments.

3) Narasimhan, V. M., Hunt, K. A., Mason, D., et al. (2016). Health and population effects of rare gene knockouts in adult humans with related parents; Science; 352:474-77; (Paper, Supplementary Materials, doi: 10.1126/science.aac8624)

- This study describes the establishment and analysis of a large UK-based biobank (http://www.genesandhealth.org) to examine the impact of loss of gene function directly in humans by sequencing 3,222 individuals containing rare homozygous Loss-of-Function variants and assessing their effects on human health by combining the genetic data with lifetime electronic health records

4) Xue Y*, Prado-Martinez J*, Sudmant PH*, Narasimhan, V. M.*, et al. Mountain gorilla genomes reveal the impact of long-term population decline and inbreedingScience. 2015;348 (6231) :242-5; (Paper, Supplementary Materials, doi: 10.1126/science.aaa3952)

- This study seqeunced 13 individuals from the largest and rarest of the extant great apes and examined the impact of demography on the efficacy of natural selection and in turn, its effects on the genetic mutational load.