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Team Lipka

Alexander E. Lipka

Assistant Professor

Alexander E. Lipka is an Assistant Professor of Biometry in the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He currently teaches CPSC 440: Applied Statistics.

My research goals are to use my background in statistical genetics in an interdisciplinary environment to help answer questions pertaining (but not limited) to crop improvement. In particular, I am interested in the statistical approaches used for genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and genomic selection(GS). In addition to collaborating with scientists and breeders, I would like to develop and apply novel statistical approaches for the analysis of genomic data.

Developer of GAPIT

GAPIT – Genome Association and Prediction Integrated Tool – is an R package that performs Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) and genome prediction (or selection). This program uses state-of-the-art methods developed for statistical genetics, such as the unified mixed model, EMMA, the compressed mixed linear model, and P3D/EMMAx

Samuel B. Fernandes


Samuel earned his bachelor’s degree in Agronomy from the University of Brasilia and went on to earn his master’s degree and P.hD in Genetics and Plant Breeding from the University of Lavras.  After working for two years as a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Genomic Biology, he has joined The Lipka Lab to develop genomic tools to handle multivariate datasets.

His interests lie in further advance the knowledge in quantitative genetics using tools such as genome-wide associations, genomic prediction, and computer simulations. 


Brian Rice


Brian Rice is a PhD student who research focuses on detection of genomic variants that contribute to multiple phenotypic traits simultaneously.

Brian received his master’s degree from the University of Illinois in The Lipka Lab. His work focusing on fixed effects in the genomic prediction model RR-BLUP was recently published in The Plant Genome doi:10.3835/plantgenome2018.07.0052


Matthew Murphy


Matthew earned his Bachelor’s of Science in biology with a minor in mathematics at Illinois College. He would later earn his master’s degree in plant and environmental sciences from Clemson University with an emphasis in translational genomics. 


Matthew’s research interests are to develop statistical methods for genome-wide association studies and quantitative trait loci mapping that can better identify loci involved in epistatic and gene by environment (GxE) interactions.


Sarah J. Widener

Master's Candidate

Sarah is a masters candidate whose research is focused on gene by environment interactions within Miscanthus. She is interested in genetics and statistics and has a passion for working with arid crops. After graduation, she hopes to work in regions of famine in Middle East to improve food security.

Sarah received her Bachelor’s of Science in Plant and Soil Science from Illinois State University. She has work experience focused on agronomy and technology with Evergreen FS, Sunrise FS, and Bayer.