Professor of Integrative and Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, USA

Dr. Nielsen’s research focuses on statistical and computational analyses of genetic and genomic data, particularly analyses of comparative genomic data (data from multiple species) and population level genomic data. He combines evolutionary models and population genetic models, with advanced statistical and computational methods, to develop new methods for inference. He then applies these methods in chosen model systems to elucidate biological processes. Much of his research is motivated by a curiosity regarding the basic evolutionary processes that are responsible for the distribution of genetic variability within and between species. He wishes to understand the contribution of demographic processes, selection at different levels, and molecular processes including recombination and mutation, in shaping variability among humans and other organisms. He then aims to use these insights to understand more applied questions including the genetic factors underlying common diseases, often using the principle that an understanding of evolutionary processes can help us understand the underlying functional mechanisms.

Dr. Nielsen received his PhD in Biology from UC Berkely in 1998, was a postdoc at Harvard 1998-2000, and moved to his first faculty position as an Assistant Professor at Cornell University in 2000 in the Department of Biometrics, later renamed to the Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology. In 2004 he became a professor at the Department of Biology at the University of Copenhagen and he moved to UC Berkeley in 2008.  He has published more than 250 papers in peer reviewed journals including 28 papers in Science and Nature.