Rasmus Nielsen’s research is on statistical and population genetic analyses of genomic data, in particular methods for detecting natural selection, describing population genetic variation, inferring demography, and elucidating molecular evolution. He is currently a professor of computational biology at UC Berkeley (since 2008) in the departments of Integrative Biology and Statistics and a professor of biology at University of Copenhagen (since 2004). He graduated with a PhD in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley in 1998, did two years of postdoc at Harvard University and held his first faculty position at Cornell University 2000-2004 before accepting a professorship in the Department of Biology at University of Copenhagen in 2004. He has received multiple American and international awards for his work including the AAAS Newcomb Cleveland Price, an Ole Roemer fellowship, a Danish ElitForsk award, a Fulbright fellowship, the Villum Kann Rasmussen Annual Award, and a Sloan Research Fellowship. He is a foreign member of the Danish Royal Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Rasmus Nielsen's research is on the development and application of statistical and computational methods to problems in population genetics, phylogenetics, medical genetics, and molecular evolution. Some highlights include methods for detecting selection using phylogenies implemented in PAML, methods for inferring demographic histories implemented in the IM and IMa programs, methods for detecting selective sweeps implemented in SweepFinder, Ballet and related programs, and bioinformatical methods for analysing Next Generation Sequencing data implemented in ANGSD. He has also worked on applications in humans and other organisms, particularly for using inferences of natural selection and other evolutionary processes to understand functional relationships. Examples include studies identifying diet adaptation in Inuit from Greenland, adaptation to high altitude in Tibet, and adaptation to a marine lifestyle in the Bajau people.

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Primary Section

Section 27: Evolutionary Biology

Secondary Section

Section 26: Genetics