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In 2006, Dr. Cantarel received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in the Structural and Computational Biology, Biophysics program from the University of Virginia.  She spent one year as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah, where she was part of the team that developed MAKER, a eukaryotic genome annotation package.  Then she spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the CNRS in Marseille, France.  While in France, she began to work in an emerging field of metagenomics while developing new tools for carbohydrate-active enzyme gene classification. 

In 2009, she moved to the University of Maryland, School of Medicine’s Institute for Genome Science, starting out as a bioinformatics analyst before joining the faculty on the research track.  Because the University of Maryland was the Data Analysis and Coordination Center for the Human Microbiome Project (, Dr Cantarel acted as a scientific coordinator for the project and chaired the genes of interest committee, in addition to leading the data analysis for a number of heath-association projects and characterizing the carbohydrate-active enzymes in the various body sites of the human body.

In 2013, she moved to Baylor Research Institute at Baylor Scott and White in Dallas, TX.  With a new next-generation sequencing core, Dr. Cantarel led the effort to bring NGS analysis to the bioinformatics core and participated in a number of immunological studies.  With some colleagues from UVA, she was part of the team to develop BAYSIC, a variant integration tool.

Finally, in November 2015, Dr. Cantarel joined UTSW.  She is interested in (i) developing the tools to make data analysis easier for researchers, (ii) coordinating classes to train students and post-doc in sequence analysis, and (iii) participate in large-scale sequence analysis projects.  Dr. Cantarel is a key member of the Program for Human Genomics team involving researchers in pathology, immunology, and bioinformatics.  The goal of this group is to develop next-generation sequence assays for use in the clinic.  The NGS assays in developing include: tumor mutation profiling using a 1385 Gene Panel, Whole Exome for patients and HLA-testing.  Because of the prospect of "big data", Dr. Cantarel is interesting in (i) improvement of variation detection methods and (ii) identification of novel biomarkers in cancer and rare disease.


Graduate School
University of Virginia Main Ca (2006), Biology

Research Interest

  • Animal Associated Microbiome; Bacterial Genomics;
  • Cancer Genomics
  • Eukaryotic Genomics
  • Next Generation Sequence (NGS) Analysis;; Whole Genome/Exome Variant Analysis; Transcriptomics; Epigenomics
  • Protein Evolution


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