Professor of Biology
Centre for Computational Systems Biology
School of Mathematical Sciences
220 Handan Road
People's Republic of China
Visiting Scientist, ISEM, Université Montpellier II, Montpellier, France,
Visiting Professor, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Brighton, Brighton, United Kingdom.
Previous position: Professor of Biology, School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom.
Room 2305 East Guanghua Tower
I am interested in fundamental questions in biology, with the aim of understanding and explaining some of the complex phenomena exhibited by populations of living organisms. In my research I develop and analyse mathematical models to answer questions in evolution, population genetics and related subjects. This involves the use of mathematics, statistics and computer simulations and may be described as theoretical biology, mathematical biology or computational biology. Most of the biological systems I consider have random or stochastic aspects.
My current research covers:
Theoretical population genetics and evolution.
I am interested in the way different evolutionary processes, such as mutations with pleiotropic effects, can affect the distribution of continuously varying (i.e., quantitative) traits such as height or weight. Previous work I have coauthored with Joel Peck has established that standard theoretical models, with pleiotropic mutations, can have singular distributions. Work is proceeding on this with Sebastien Gourbiere, Guillaume Martin and Sylvain Gandon.
Random genetic drift.
I am investigating the stochastic processes that occur in populations of relatively small size. I have been involved with analysis of the diffusion equation of random genetic drif and I have recently investigated some of the implications of demographic and selective changes on the probability of fixation. This work is now being extended to more complex problems.
This work involves establishing statistical tests, performing statistical analyses of data and mathematically modelling the movement and foraging behaviour of Pharaoh's ants. It is being carried out with Pierre Nouvellet and Jonathan Bacon.
For a complete list, including abstracts and downloadable versions click here.
A Unified Treatment of the Probability of Fixation When Population Size and the Strength
of Selection Change Over Time
Genetics 188: 907-913 (2011)
Is Life Impossible?
Information, Sex and the Origin of Complex Organisms
Evolution 64: 3300–3309 (2010) with Joel Peck
Fundamental Insights into the Random Movement of Animals from a Single
American Naturalist 174: 506-514 (2009) with Pierre Nouvellet and Jonathan Bacon
Pleiotropic Scaling of Gene Effects and the 'Cost of Complexity'
Nature 452: 470-472 (2008) with Günter Wagner, Jane Kenney-Hunt, Mihaela Pavlicev, Joel Peck and James Cheverud
Fisher's Microscope and Haldane's Ellipse
American Naturalist 166: 447-457 (2005) with John Welch
Sympatric Speciation by Sexual Conflict
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 99, 10533-10538 (2002) with Sergey Gavrilets
Mutation and Sex in a Competitive World
Nature 406: 399-403 (2000) with Joel Peck
Pleiotropy and the Preservation of Perfection
Science 279: 1210-1213 (1998) with Joel Peck
Why do Asexual and Self Fertilizing Populations Tend to Occur in Marginal Environments
Nature 391: 889-892 (1998) with Joel Peck and John Yearsley
Abstracts and downloadable PDF versions of my papers are available under my list of
Please email me if you have any queries.
Recent External Activities
Associate Editor, Theoretical Population Biology
Member, Board of Reviewing Editors, Science
Co-organiser, International Conference on Modelling in the Life Sciences, September 2011, Shanghai.