Dr. Rasmus Nielsen

Expert on Evolutionary Genomics to Speak at ECU

Dr. Rasmus Nielsen, one of the world’s leading experts on evolutionary genomics and professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley, will lead a free, public seminar at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 2, in room 209 of the Science and Technology Building on the campus of East Carolina University.

The lecture, “The Search for Footprints of Adaptation in Genomic Data,” is sponsored by The Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of Biology, as part of the THCAS Advancement Council Distinguished Professorship in Natural Sciences and Mathematics held by Dr. Kyle Summers.

“Professor Nielsen has been a pioneer in developing methods to detect the signature of natural selection,” said Summers. “His research has provided fascinating glimpses into ancient worlds. For example, samples from underneath the ice cap covering Greenland reveal ecosystems that existed there over a million years ago.”

Nielsen's research focuses on statistical and computational aspects of evolutionary theory and genetics. One of the central problems he is interested in is the molecular basis of evolutionary adaptation. What happens at the molecular level as one species is transformed into another over evolutionary time?

To address this question, Nielsen has pioneered methods for detecting the effect of natural selection at the molecular level, and he has worked on diverse organisms, from fruit flies to mammoths, and from Neanderthals to modern humans. Nielsen also has worked on statistical methods in other aspects of population genetics, medical genetics, phylogenetics, molecular ecology and molecular evolution.

For additional information about Nielsen’s visit to ECU, contact Summers at 252-328-6304 or summersk@ecu.edu.  Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the events.