Trevor Bedford, PhD


Trevor Bedford, PhD

Professor, Biostatistics, Bioinformatics and Epidemiology Program
Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, Fred Hutch

Professor, Herbold Computational Biology Program
Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutch

Human Biology Division, Fred Hutch

Translational Data Science Integrated Research Center (TDS IRC), Fred Hutch

Fax: 206.667.4812
Mail Stop: E2-112

Dr. Trevor Bedford uses powerful computers and complex statistical methods to study the rapid spread and evolution of viruses, including those that cause COVID-19, influenza, Ebola and Zika. Data gathered from these processes help researchers develop successful strategies for monitoring and controlling infectious diseases. His visual representations of viral family trees are used to show how the fate of dangerous outbreaks is often determined by the genetics of the infectious agent, human behavior and geography. Dr. Bedford has applied these techniques to document the worldwide spread of COVID-19 and of seasonal flu viruses. He is developing models to predict which strains of influenza are likely to be most challenging to humans — data that help inform the crucial early decisions about which strains to include in annual flu shots. He specializes in tracking the evolutionary changes of viruses such as HIV and influenza that use RNA, rather than DNA, to carry their genetic information. RNA viruses are much more prone to rapid mutation, which makes many of them particularly nimble at escaping the human immune system and difficult to stop with vaccines. He co-developed an open-source platform called Nextstrain that provides a continually updated view of publicly available viral genomic data alongside powerful analytic and visualization tools. He is a leading advocate for the immediate release of research analyzing viral evolution during epidemics, fresh information that can make a lifesaving difference. In 2021 he received a MacArthur Fellowship, or “genius award" for his work.

For Media Relations inquiries please email

Other Appointments & Affiliations

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Affiliate Associate Professor, Department of Genome Sciences and Department of Epidemiology
University of Washington


Harvard University, 2008, PhD (Biology)

University of Chicago, 2002, BA (Biological Sciences)

Research Interests

Computational molecular evolution


Infectious disease epidemiology

Antigenic evolution and immune dynamics

Bayesian statistics

Current Projects

Antigenic cartography to characterize virus diversity and evolution

Phylogeographic methods to quantify virus circulation patterns

Inference of epidemiological parameters from viral sequence data

Methods to assess fitness and predict evolutionary growth or decay across strains

Teaching/Mentoring Interests

Sequence analysis

Modeling infectious disease dynamics

Computational Bayesian inference

Find a Clinical Trial

COVID-19 Research at Fred Hutch

For the Media

The Media Relations team at Fred Hutch is available to assist members of the news media who would like to arrange interviews with faculty.

Email or call 206.667.2210