Martin Bontrager

Genetics PhD, Computational and Evolutionary Biologist


I am a computational biologist at Tempus Labs in Chicago, IL.


2011-16 University of Wisconsin - Madison Genetics PhD (supervisor: Carol Lee)

2009-11 SUNY Brockport BSc Biology (Summa Cum Laude)

2001-03 Finger Lakes Community College AS General Studies


Computational Biologist


Tempus - I develop tools to support and enable precision medicine for cancer care.

Onsite Supervisor

2003-09 GoIndustry Dovebid Industrial Asset Appraisals and Sales - I was responsible for conducting an inventory and appraisal of client’s assets, managing on-site auctions, supervising equipment removal, and conducting live webcast auctions.



2013 GEN 466 Genetics

2015 Bio 100 Exploring Biology


2015 Bio 100 Exploring Biology

Undergraduate Mentorship

2012-16 Joe Connolly and Khamsai Vang Culture-based Isolation of Microbial Symbionts from Copepod Hosts

Sonya Loberger Detecting Signatures of Selection using Pooled Population Genomics

HHMI Teaching Fellowship

2015 I trained in pedagogical methods and active-learning strategies, then developed and team-taught an introductory Biology course. In addition to training in teaching methods, part of the aim of this fellowship was to aid in the retention of minority and underpriveledged students.

Teaching Evolution Online

2014-15 I developed modules for an online teacher-training course for middle and high school teachers. The goal of this project modules was to provide teachers with access to high-quality materials and lesson plans about Evolutionary Biology.



2016 The Copepod Microbiome during Independent Habitat Invasions (Evolution 2016, Austin, TX)

2015 Along for the Ride: A Copepod Microbiome across Habitat Invasions (UW Genetics Summer Colloquium Series, Madison, WI)

Copepods as Reservoirs for Flavobacterium and other Fish Pathogens (NOAA SeaGrant, Madison, WI)

2014 Statistical Tests of Primate Common Ancestry (Evolution Seminar Series, Madison, WI)

Taxonomic Diversity in the Microbiome of an Invasive Copepod (UW Genetics Summer Colloquium Series, Madison, WI)

2011 Density and Seagrass Preference of the Marine Gastropod Cerithium litteratum in Relation to Current and Wave Action (SUNY Brockport Scholar’s Day, Brockport, NY)

Identification of Rad52 Protein Isoforms via Site-Directed Mutagenesis (SUNY Brockport Scholar’s Day, Brockport, NY)


2011 The Role of RAD52 in Mitochondrial Genome Stability (SUNY Brockport Summer Research Session, Brockport, NY)

The Role of RAD52 in Mitochondrial Genome Stability (Rochester Academy of Sciences Meeting, Ithaca, NY)



Bontrager, Martin B. Larget, C. Ane, and D. Baum. Statistical Evidence for Common Ancestry: Testing for Signal in Silent Sites. biorxiv link (In Revision)

Larget, Bret, C. Ane, M. Bontrager, S. Hunter, N. Stenz, and D. Baum. Statistical evidence for common ancestry: New tests of universal ancestry. biorxiv link (In Revision)

Baum, David, C. Ane, B. Larget, C. Solis-Lemus, L.S.T. Ho, P. Boone, C. Drummond, M. Bontrager, S. Hunter, and D. Baum. Statistical evidence for common ancestry: Application to Primates. Evolution. Volume 70:1354-1363

Peris, David, Q. Langdon, R.V. Moriarty, K. Sylvester, M. Bontrager, G. Charron, J. Leducq, C.R. Landry, D. Libkind, C. Hittinger. Complex ancestries of lager-brewing hybrids were shaped by standing variation in the wild yeast Saccharomyces eubayanus. PLoS Genetics. 12(7): e1006155


Almeida, Pedro, C. Goncalves, S. Teixeira, D. Libkind, M. Bontrager, I. Masneuf-Pomarede, W. Albertin, P. Durrens, D. Sherman, P. Marullo, C.T. Hittinger, P. Goncalves, J.P. Sampaio. A Gondwanan Imprint on the Global Diversity and Domestication of the Wine and Cider Yeast Saccharomyces uvarum. Nature Communications Vol 5. June 2014


2015 Morgridge Institute for Research: Microbial communities may inform understanding of rapid evolution

Technical skills


JF Crow Committee

2013-16 I serve on the Evolution Coordinating Committee for the JF Crow Institute for the study of Evolution at UW-Madision. I am involved in the development of a graduate program in Evolution, as well as in many outreach and teaching activities.

Evolution Seminar Series

2013-16 I organize and run the UW-Madison Evolution Seminar Series. I invite all associated speakers and write grants for funding visiting speakers.


2014-16 I co-founded a group meeting of microbial ecologists and computational biologists on campus which meets monthly to talk about computational and statistical methods in microbial ecology and evolution.

Evolution Journal Club

2014-16 I founded and run a weekly evolution journal club for graduate students and post-docs.


NSF Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) Fellowship ($5000 plus six months stipend - Declined)

NSF Graduate Research Fellowhip Program (GRFP) (3 years PhD fees + enhanced stipend)

UW-Madison Genetics NIH training grant (2 years PhD fees + stipend)

HHMI Teaching Fellowship (Teacher training and course design)

UW-Madison Zoology research grant ($2500 research funding)

UW-Madison Zoology John Jefferson Davis Travel Award ($500 Travel Funding)

UW-Madison Genetics Stone Travel Award ($850 Travel Funding)

Paul and Agnes Bower Biology summer reserach scholarship ($2000 research funding)