Skip to main content


Nicole S. Torosin, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ellison Laboratory


Google Scholar


Evolutionary genomics of Drosophila
Inside the nucleus, a hierarchy of chromatin structure is used to organize the 3D genome. One structural unit, a topologically associating domain, or TAD, is defined by preferential interaction of loci within it and minimal interaction of these loci with other regions of the genome.
It is currently unclear how evolutionarily conserved TADs are and their role in gene regulation. To study this, I am currently doing a comparative analysis of TADs and gene expression using a dozen species of the genus Drosophila.


Torosin NS, Anand A, Rao Golla T, Cao W, Ellison CE. Reorganization of 3D genome structure in the Drosophila melanogaster species group. PLoS Genetics. 2020;6(12):e1009229. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009229.
Primate immune genetic evolution

Immune genes are responsible for identifying pathogens and mounting a response to fight of the invader. Across the primate phylogeny there exists a wide breadth of immune responses to the same pathogens. Comparative primate immune genetic research is necessary to identify and understand genetic factors resulting in variable immune response.

My research focuses on innate immune genes Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7 and TLR8 and how variation in these genes across primates may be contributing to the wide range of susceptibility to yellow fever virus (YFV). For example, howler monkeys are exceptionally susceptible to yellow fever virus and are endangered in Northern Argentina due to YFV outbreaks while African primates and apes are resistant.


Torosin NS, Webster TH, Argibay H, Ferreyra H, Uhart M, Agostini I, Knapp LA. Positively selected variants in functionally important regions of TLR7 in Alouatta guariba clamitans with yellow fever virus exposure in Northern Argentina. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 2020;173:50-60. jpa.24086.

Full text available here.

Torosin NS, Argibay H, Webster TH, Corneli PS, Knapp LA. 2020. Comparing the selective landscape of TLR7 and TLR8 across primates reveals unique sites under positive selection in Alouatta. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 2020;152:106920.

Full text available here.






Doctor of Philosophy, Biological Anthropology, University of Utah, UT

Dissertation: Genetic variation in toll-like receptor 7 and toll-like receptor 8 in humans and howler monkeys and potential implications for susceptibility to yellow fever virus.

Master of Science, Biological Anthropology, University of Utah, UT

Thesis: Genetic diversity and facial cues of kin recognition.

Bachelor of Arts, Biological Sciences and Anthropology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Thesis: A genetic test for the effect of the Toba volcanic eruption on worldwide population sizes in mammal species.

Other Activities 

Center for Human Evolutionary Studies, Rutgers University
Genetics Society of America Early Career Leadership Committee, Career Development Subcommittee




Highlight of my research and career development activities.

Early Career Scientist Leadership Spotlight — Nicole Torosin

Press release from the University of Utah

Highlights of my work on howler monkey immune genetics and current efforts to save them.

View More Posts