Brenna M. Henn

Brenna Henn

Position Title
Associate Professor

Department of Anthropology
Center for Population Biology
Genome Center

211 Young Hall

Research Interests

Population Genetics and Quantitative Genetics of Human Evolution

The Henn Lab uses population genetic and quantitative genetic theory to model processes in human evolution, paired with extensive genomic and phenotypic data from Sub-Saharan African populations. The lab is committed to understanding genetic diversity in under-represented populations and testing the hypothesis that the determinants of phenotypic traits in these populations may be influenced by alleles that are population-specific or generally rare. The lab is broadly geared toward refining models of human migration and understanding the adaptive significance of healthy phenotypes such as life history traits, pigmentation, height, and resistance to tuberculosis. The lab is also particularly focused on reconstructing the complex demographic history of African populations. 

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics
  • Population Biology

Specialties / Focus

  • Human Genetics and Genomics
  • Population and Quantitative Genetics
  • Quantitative and Population Genetics


  • ANT 153 - Human Genetics: Mutation and Migration
  • ANT 157 - Human Genetics: Data and Disease
  • ANT 157L - Advanced Human Genetics Lab
  • ANT 253 - Human Genomics Seminar

Honors and Awards

    Professional Societies

    • SMBE, ASHG


    • Postdoc (in Genetics, Stanford University, 2012)
    • PhD (in Anthropological Sciences, Stanford University, 2009)
    • BA (in Philosophy, Stanford University, 2003)



    • AR Martin, M Lin, JM Granka, JW Myrick, X Liu, A Sockell, EG Atkinson, CJ Werely, M Möller, DM Kingsley, EG Hoal, X Liu, MW Feldman, CR Gignoux, CD Bustamante, BM Henn (2017) An Unexpectedly Complex Architecture for Skin Pigmentation in Africans. Cell. 171 (6), 1340-1353. e14
    • C Uren, M Kim, AR Martin, D Bobo, CR Gignoux, PDv Helden, M Möller, EG Hoal, BM Henn (2016) Fine-Scale Human Population Structure in Southern Africa Reflects Ecogeographic Boundaries. Genetics 204(1): 303-314.
    • BM Henn*, LR Botigué*, S Peishl*, I Dupanloup, M Lipatov, BK Maples, AR Martin, S Musharoff, H Cann, M Snyder, L Excoffier*, JM Kidd*, CD Bustamante* (2016) Feature Article: Distance from Sub-Saharan Africa Predicts Mutational Load in Diverse Human Genomes. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 113(4): E440-E449.
    • GD Poznik, BM Henn, MC Yee, E Sliwerska, GM Euskirchen, AA Lin, M Snyder, L Quintana-Murci, JM Kidd, PA Underhill, CD Bustamante (2013) Sequencing Y Chromosomes Resolves Discrepancy in Time to Common Ancestor of Males versus Females. Science 341(6145): 562-565
    • BM Henn, MW Feldman, LL Cavalli-Sforza (2012) The Great Human Expansion. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 109(44): 17758-17764
    • BM Henn, CR Gignoux, M Jobin, JM Granka, JM Macpherson, JM Kidd, L Rodríguez-Botigué, S Ramachandran, L Hon, A Brisbin, AA Lin, PA Underhill, D Comas, KK Kidd, P Parham, PJ Norman, CD Bustamante, JL Mountain, MW Feldman. (2011) Feature Article: Hunter-gatherer genomic diversity suggests a southern African origin for modern humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 108(13): 5154-5162.