Alon Keinan, Ph.D., is a researcher and consultant who investigates patterns of genetic variation in human populations and translates that knowledge to study the genetic basis of complex diseases and identify potential therapeutic targets.
Dr. Keinan has been a professor of computational biology at Cornell University since 2009, initially the Robert N. Noyce Assistant Professor in Life Science and Technology, and then an Associate Professor (with tenure) since 2014. He has participated in six graduate programs and three research centers, including in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medical College. He has published over 80 articles in scientific journals that have been cited over 50,000 times. Dr. Keinan has won prestigious awards throughout his career stages and has been awarded millions of dollars in research grant funding, most from the National Institutes of Health. He is currently on an indefinite leave of absence from Cornell.
Before joining Cornell University, Alon was a researcher at the Department of Genetics of Harvard Medical School and at the Broad Institute, which followed a Ph.D. in Computer Science with distinction from Tel Aviv University. Towards his Ph.D., he won the Wolf Award for Ph.D. Students, the Dan David Prize scholarship, and the Rothschild Postdoctoral Fellowship. Concomitantly with his graduate studies, he served his mandatory military service in an R&D unit of the IDF’s Intelligence Corps. As a project manager in the unit, he led the development of a knowledge management system for the intelligence community, and he later served as Chief R&D Officer.
Alon’s research and consultancy are centered on computational genomics, at the intersection of computer science, statistics, and genetics. He brings together his education and experience in these fields, together with years of experience in data science, to address research questions in human population genetics, statistical medical genetics, and nutrigenomics. The overarching aim of his research is to improve the search for complex disease genes by first obtaining new insight into how historical events and natural selection have shaped the genetics of human populations.
Alon carried out his research agenda by leading the Computational Genomics Laboratory, whose members have come from varied backgrounds, including computer science, statistics, genetics, genomics, mathematics, physics, and anthropology. The multidisciplinary nature of the lab enabled the collaborative development of computational and statistical methods, their efficient application to big data, as well as the interpretation of discoveries.
Alon offers consulting and advisory in his different areas of expertise to companies and VCs in the arenas of biotech, healthcare, and artificial intelligence. Most recently, following being a consultant to Variant Bio, he also served as the company’s Senior Director of Population Genetics.