I’m a Senior Clinical Informatics Scientist at Invitae, a human diagnostics company committed to making genetic information affordable and accessible to everyone who can benefit from it.
My background is in evolutionary biology, with deep knowledge of bioinformatics, genomics, phylogenomics, and computational biology. I started my academic career as a molecular systematist studying plants in the high Andes and developed novel approaches to generate genomic data quickly and cost effectively. With all the data I was generating, programming became a useful tool and later one of my passions.
When I am not analyzing data, I enjoys traveling, running, and photography. I have lived in three different continents, backpacked around the world twice visiting over 35 countries, and have had photos featured by Lonely Planet and NPR.
I received a Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Idaho (2014), where I worked with Dr. David Tank on the evolution of the plant group Neobartsia and the development of novel high-throughput sequencing methods. I got my B.Sc. in Biology, specializing in botany, from the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia (2008). As an undergraduate, I studied abroad (2004-2005) at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, where I worked at the Institut für Spezielle Botanik, and I was a research intern at the Harvard University Herbarium and the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) (2008). Finally, I conducted postdoctoral research in bioinformatics and computational biology at the University of Missouri – St. Louis and at the University of Michigan (2015-2018).
After my postdoctoral appointments, I worked for two years as data scientist at Phylagen, a data analytics company leveraging machine learning to harness the vast, unseen world of microbiomes. I got to work with large NGS datasets, combining my love for bioinformatics, big data, and biodiversity.
During my ~10 years in academia, I did research in evolutionary biology, molecular systematics, bioinformatics and computational biology, and even ancient DNA! The highlights are below, but if you want all the details, go to my Research Interest page.
Bioinformatics, Genomics, and Phylogenomics
I developed two approaches to generate genomic data quickly and cost effectively, using either regular or long range PCR Illumina sequencing.
During my postdoc, I worked with hybridization sequence capture and genotyping by sequencing (GBS/RADSeq). For the hyb-seq capture project, I was involved in designing the baits from transcriptome, plastome, and mitogenomes, in some of the molecular work in the lab, and in the bioinformatic analyzes of the raw sequencing data (Illumina).
Systematics and Evolution
I spent most of my time devoted to Neobartsia, a parasitic plant group that grows exclusively in the high elevation (>3000m/9000ft) ecosystems of the Andes.
I discovered a new species, drove more than 24,000 km (15,000 mi) from Northern Colombia to Southern Bolivia while collecting more than 800 samples and all 50 species in the genus, and spent countless hours in molecular laboratories and herbaria generating the data that supported my dissertation. It was an awesome time!
I also worked on the plant group Burmeistera, the bananaquit birds from the Antilles, and contributed to the Fungal Tree of Life project by building the largest phylogeny of the group to date with ~30,000 different species of fungi!
Ancient DNA from the Clarkia Fossil Bed
This was a side project but it was absolutely amazing! We worked with 15 million year old plant fossils that were still green and oxidized in front of your eyes when you opened them! We extracted their DNA and I encourage you to go to the Research Interest and watch the videos!
* Denotes mentored undergraduate student co-author
Bagley JC, Uribe-Convers S, Carlsen MM, Muchhala N. 2020. Utility of targeted sequence capture for phylogenomics in rapid, recent angiosperm radiations: Neotropical Burmeistera bellflowers as a case study. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. [pdf] [link]
Malagon MDP, Mendoza-Cifuentes H, Gómez-Parra S, Uribe-Convers S. 2019. Neobartsia matuy (Orobanchaceae), a new species from the Colombian Andes. Phytotaxa 424 (2): 087–096. [pdf] [link to open access]
Randle CP and Uribe-Convers S. 2019. Bartsia. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 20+ vols. New York and Oxford. Vol. 17, pp. 488-489. [link]
Jacobs SJ, Kristofferson C*, Uribe-Convers S, Latvis M, Tank DC. 2018. Incongruence in molecular species delimitation schemes: what to do when adding more data is difficult. Molecular Ecology. [pdf] [link]
McKain MR, Johnson MG, Uribe-Convers S, Eaton D, Yang Y. 2018. Practical considerations for plant phylogenomics. Applications in Plant Sciences 6(3): e1038. *All authors contributed equally. [link to Open Access]
Klein, LL, Miller AJ, Ciotir C, Hyma K, Uribe‐Convers S, Londo J. 2018. High‐throughput sequencing data clarify evolutionary relationships among North American Vitis species and improve identification in USDA Vitis germplasm collections. American Journal of Botany 105(2): 215–226. [pdf] [link]
Latvis M, Mortimer SME, Morales-Briones DF, Torpey S*, Uribe-Convers S, Jacobs SJ, Mathews S, Tank DC. 2017. Primers for Castilleja and their Utility Across Orobanchaceae: I. Chloroplast Primers. Applications in Plant Sciences 5 (9): 1700020. [link to Open Access]
Uribe-Convers S, Carlsen M, Lagomarsino L, Muchhala N. 2017. Phylogenetic relationships of Burmeistera (Campanulaceae)—combining whole plastome and Sanger data to improve resolution in a recent group. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 107: 551-563. [pdf] [link]
Uribe-Convers S and Tank D.C. 2016. Phylogenetic Revision of the genus Bartsia (Orobanchaceae), disjunct distributions correlate to independent lineages. Systematic Botany 41(3): 672-684. [pdf] [link]
Uribe-Convers S, Settles ML, Tank DC. 2016. A Phylogenomic Approach Based on PCR Target Enrichment and High Throughput Sequencing: Resolving the Diversity within the South American Species of Bartsia L. (Orobanchaceae). PLoS ONE. 11(2): e0148203. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0148203 [link to Open Access]
Uribe-Convers S and Tank DC. 2015. Shifts in diversification rates linked to biogeographic movement into new areas: an example of disparate continental distributions and a recent radiation in the Andes. American journal of Botany 102:1854–1869 [pdf][link]
…….Featured by the editor of the American Journal of Botany in the “Highlights Section” http://goo.gl/pAvqmH
Nürk NM, Uribe-Convers S, Gehrke B, Tank DC, Blattner F. 2015. Oligocene niche shift, Miocene diversification – cold tolerance and accelerated speciation rates in the St. John’s Worts (Hypericum, Hypericaceae). BMC Evolutionary Biology 15:80 [link to Open Access]
Uribe-Convers S, Duke JR*, Moore JM, Tank DC. 2014. A long-PCR based method for chloroplast genome enrichment and phylogenomics in angiosperms. Applications in Plant Sciences 2 (1): 1300063 [link to Open Access]
…….Featured in EurekAlert!: http://goo.gl/C4rAeh and in ScienceDaily: http://goo.gl/zdFuZ4
Goldberg CS, Tank DC, Uribe-Convers S, Bosworth WR, Marx HH, Waits LP. 2012. Species designation of the Bruneau Dune tiger beetle (Cicindela waynei) is supported by phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequence data. Conservation Genetics 13: 373-380. [pdf] [link]
Kadereit JW, Uribe-Convers S, Westberg E, Comes HP. 2006. Reciprocal hybridization at different times between Senecio flavus and Senecio glaucus gave rise to two polyploid species in North Africa and Southwest Asia. New Phytologist 169: 431 – 441. [pdf] [link]
Jacobs SJ, Kristofferson C*, Uribe-Convers S, Latvis M, Tank DC. 2018. Incongruence in molecular species delimitation schemes: what to do when adding more data is difficult. Molecular Ecology. [link to dataset]
Uribe-Convers S, Settles ML, Tank DC (2016) Data from: A phylogenomic approach based on PCR target enrichment and high throughput sequencing: resolving the diversity within the South American species of Bartsia (Orobanchaceae). PLoS ONE. [link to dataset]
Uribe-Convers S and Tank D.C. (2015) Data from: Shifts in diversification rates linked to biogeographic movement into new areas: an example of disparate continental distributions and a recent radiation in the Andes. American Journal of Botany. [link to dataset]
Nürk NM, Uribe-Convers S, Gehrke B, Tank DC, Blattner FR (2015) Data from: Oligocene niche shift, Miocene diversification – cold tolerance and accelerated speciation rates in the St. John’s Worts (Hypericum, Hypericaceae). BMC Evolutionary Biology. [link to dataset]
Uribe-Convers S, Duke JR, Moore MJ, Tank DC (2014) Data from: A long PCR based approach for DNA enrichment prior to next–generation sequencing for systematic studies. Applications in Plant Sciences. [link to dataset]
Pre-Prints (Not Peer Reviewed)
Uribe-Convers S, Settles ML, Tank DC. 2015. A targeted subgenomic approach for phylogenomics based on microfluidic PCR and high throughput sequencing. bioRxiv 021246; doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/021246.
Uribe-Convers S and Tank DC. 2015. Shifts in diversification rates linked to biogeographic movement into new areas, an example of disparate continental distributions and a recent radiation in the Andes. bioRxiv 019554; doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/019554.
Uribe-Convers S. 2008. Molecular Phylogeny for the Colombian species of páramo, for the genera Bartsia and Castilleja (Orobanchaceae). Honors Thesis B.Sc. Biology, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá – Colombia. [pdf] [link]