Olga Zhaxybayeva

Academic Appointments
  • Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

  • Adjunct Associate Professor of Computer Science

  • Simons Foundation Investigator in Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems

  • 2018-19 Douglas C. Floren Fellow

My research interests are to understand how microbes change over time. Recent advances in DNA sequencing technologies brought us an avalanche of data: thousands of genomes and terabases of environmental DNA (metagenomes). I mine these data sets to assess the impact of horizontal gene transfer on microbial populations, find new ways to characterize microbial communities, and track down genomic signatures of microbial adaptations.


333 Life Sciences Center
HB 6044


  • B.S. in Applied Mathematics, Kazakh State University
  • Ph.D. in Genetics, University of Connecticut
  • Postdoctroal Training in Microbial Evolution, Dalhousie University
  • Certificate in Computer Graphics, Nova Scotia College of Art and Design

Selected Publications

  • Migun Shakya, Shannon M. Soucy, and Olga Zhaxybayeva (2017) "Insights into Origin and Evolution of alpha-proteobacterial Gene Transfer Agents", Virus Evolution, 3: vex036.

  • Stephen M. J. Pollo, Abigail A. Adebusuy, Timothy J. Straub, Julia M. Foght, Olga Zhaxybayeva, Camilla L. Nesbo (2017) "Genomic insights and temperature-dependent transcriptional responses of Kosmotoga olearia, a deep-biosphere bacterium that can grow from 20C to 79C", Extremophiles, 21:963-979.

  • Straub TJ and Zhaxybayeva O (2017) "A null model for microbial diversification", Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 114: E5414-E5423.

  • Lori R. Shapiro, Erin D. Scully, Timothy J. Straub, Jihye Park, Andrew G. Stephenson, Gwyn Beattie, Mark Gleason, Roberto Kolter, Miguel C. Coelho, Consuelo M. DeMoraes, Mark C. Mescher, and Olga Zhaxybayeva (2016) "Horizontal Gene Acquisitions, Mobile Element Proliferation, and Genome Decay in the Host-Restricted Plant Pathogen Erwinia tracheiphila", Genome Biol Evol., 8:649-664.

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