Chair in Computational Biology

Chairholder: Professor Rasmus Nielsen

Rasmus NielsenRasmus Nielsen is a Professor of Computational Biology in the Department of Integrative Biology and the Department of Statistics at UC Berkeley.  He works on statistical and population genetic analyses of genomic data, in particular methods for detecting natural selection, describing population genetic variation, inferring demography, and methods for association mapping. Much of his current research concerns statistical analyses of Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) data, both in the context of medical genetics and population genetics. Many of the methods he has developed are heavily used by other researchers, including the phylogeny based methods for detecting positive selection implemented in PAML, the methods for inferring demographic histories implemented in the IM and IMa programs, the method for detecting selective sweeps implemented in SweepFinder, and the methods for analysing NGS data implemented in ANGSD. He has published more than 200 peer reviewed papers, invited book chapters and review papers (including 32 in Science or Nature) with a total H-index of 101.  Many of these papers focus on methods development and theory. However, much of his recent research has also focused on the application of evolutionary genetics for understanding molecular function, for example for understanding the genetic basis of the regulation of haemoglobin concentration in high-altitude adapted populations or diet and cold adaptation in the Inuit of Greenland. His prior faculty positions were at Cornell University and the University of Copenhagen.


The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Chair in Computational Biology was established with a gift from Raymond and Beverly Sackler that was matched by the Hewlett Foundation to support the work of an eminent UC Berkeley faculty member whose research interests build on and enhance new connections between biology and the engineering and/or physical sciences. The Chair is part of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Physical and Engineering Sciences.