Ira M. Hall, PhD

MGI Associate Director

Associate Professor of Medicine

Ira Hall works with the application of human genome sequencing and integrative data science approaches to identify the genetic origins of medically relevant human traits.

Dr. Hall joined the McDonnell Genome Institute (MGI) in 2014. He is an Associate Director of MGI and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine.

Much of his ongoing work involves the application of human genome sequencing and integrative data science approaches to identify the genetic origins of medically relevant human traits. Dr. Hall is co-leader of the NHGRI-funded MGI Center for Common Disease Genomics, which is conducting population-scale genome sequencing studies to identify genetic factors that confer risk or protection for various complex human diseases in the broader cardiovascular, autoimmune and neuropsychiatric disease areas.

Dr. Hall’s research career has spanned diverse fields and topics. He received a BA in Integrative Biology from the University of California at Berkeley (1998) and a PhD in Genetics from the Watson School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (2003). His thesis work established the first direct link between RNA interference and chromatin-based epigenetic inheritance. As a CSHL Fellow (2003-2007), Dr. Hall’s lab used microarray technologies and mouse strain genealogies to conduct the first systematic study of DNA copy number variation hotspots. As a faculty member at the University of Virginia (2007-2014) and Washington University School of Medicine (2014-), Dr. Hall’s work has sought to understand the causes and consequences of genome variation in mammals, with an increasing focus on methods development and human genetics. His group has developed novel bioinformatics methods including software for genome structural variation detection and interpretation (hydra, lumpy, svtools), DNA sequence alignment (yaha), data integration (bedtools), and ultra-fast clinical human genome interpretation (speedseq). In various prior studies, Dr. Hall’s lab has used genome sequencing technologies to study human disorders, tumor evolution, bacterial recombination, mouse strain variation, genome stability in induced pluripotent stem cells, and single-neuron somatic mosaicism in the human brain.

Dr. Hall’s work has been featured in Science Magazine’s Breakthrough of the Year (2003 & 2007), the NIMH Director’s “Ten Best of 2013” and The Scientist (2013), and he has received several prestigious awards including the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Prize (2003), the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award (2006), the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award (2009), and the March of Dimes Basil O’Connor Research Award (2010). He has also served as an Associate Editor at Genome Research (2009-2014) and is an Associate Editor at Genes, Genomes and Genetics (G3).