David Waxman's Home Page
Publications, Email

Professor of Biology,
Centre for Computational Systems Biology,
Institute of Science and Technology for Brain Inspired Science,
Fudan University,
220 Handan Road,
Shanghai 200433,
People's Republic of China.

Room 2305 East Guanghua Tower,
Handan Campus, Fudan University.


External Activities
Associate Editor, Theoretical Population Biology
Member, Board of Reviewing Editors, Science
Member, Scientific Advisory Board, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön

My research comes under the heading of theoretical biology, and is focussed on evolution, population genetics and related subjects. I am interested in understanding and explaining some of the complex phenomena exhibited by populations of living organisms. I develop and analyse theoretical models, which usually have random or stochastic aspects, using mathematics, statistics and computer simulations. My current research includes the following topics.

Processes occurring in finite populations
In a finite population the stochastic process of random genetic drift occurs. Recent work has found that conditioning on a known end-point of a frequency trajectory 'reshapes' some of the noise associated with genetic drift into a deterministic evolutionary force. This work is being extended to more complex problems. Other problems in this area are also being pursued. This work is being carried out with:
Hua Deng (Fudan)
Xinjun Gan (Fudan)
Toni Gossmann (Sheffield)
Martin Lascoux (Uppsala)
Andy Overall (Brighton)
Hassan Shafiey (Fudan)
Lei Zhao (Fudan).

Applications of information theory in biology
This work involves analysing evolutionary adaptation using results of the formal theory of information, as developed by Claude Shannon. It is being carried out with Joel Peck (Cambridge).

Stochastic theory of disease spread
This work involves analysing the theory of small disease outbreaks, where stochasticity can play a very significant role, and can strongly modify predictions of deterministic theories. It is being carried out with Pierre Nouvellet (Imperial).

Selected Publications
For a complete list, including downloadable versions (in PDF), click here.

Evolutionary Control:
Targeted Change of Allele Frequencies in Natural Populations Using Externally Directed Evolution
Journal of Theoretical Biology 419: 362-374 (2017) with Hassan Shafiey and Toni Gossmann.

A Modified Wright-Fisher Model that Incorporates Ne:
A Variant of the Standard Model with Increased Biological Realism and Reduced Computational Complexity
Journal of Theoretical Biology 393: 218-28 (2016) with Lei Zhao and Toni Gossmann.

Exact Simulation of Conditioned Wright-Fisher Models
Journal of Theoretical Biology 363:419-26 (2016) with Lei Zhao and Martin Lascoux.

Inferring Host Range Dynamics from Comparative Data:
The Protozoan Parasites of New World Monkeys
American Naturalist 184:65-74 (2014) with Lucy Weinert and John Welch.

Complete Numerical Solution of the Diffusion Equation of Random Genetic Drift
Genetics 194: 973-985 (2013) with Lei Zhao and Xingye Yue.

Population Growth Enhances the Mean Fixation Time of Neutral Mutations and the Persistence of Neutral Variation
Genetics 191: 561-577 (2012)

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 Distance-Related Statistic
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
PNAS 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

Downloadable versions of my papers (in PDF) are available under my list of publications.

Publications, Email