Rasmus Nielson

Dr. Nielsen received his Ph.D. from UC-Berkeley in 1998, did postdoctoral research at Harvard University and worked as an assistant professor at Cornell University from 2000-2004. From 2004 he has been a Professor of Biology at the University of Copenhagen and he joined the faculty at the departments of Integrative Biology and Statistics at Berkeley in Jan. 2008.

One of the central problems he has been interested in is the molecular basis of evolutionary adaptation. What happens at the molecular levels as one species is transformed into another over evolutionary time? To address this question he has developed a number of computational methods and applied them to large scale genomic data, such as genomic comparisons of humans and chimpanzees.

He has also worked on understanding human genetic variation. He uses both classical statistical methods and evolutionary inferences to identify genetic variants that affect phenotypic variability in humans, including genetic adaptations to diet and local environmental factors. He has studied the genetic basis of human adaption to high altitude, changes in diet, and cold climates. He has also worked extensively on analyses of ancient DNA derived from fossils to understand human origins and diversification.