17 July 2012
4 - 5pm
Venue: Ground Floor Seminar Room (G010), UniServices House, 70 Symonds Street, Auckland
A Bioengineering research seminar by Dr Alexei Drummond, Rutherford Discovery Fellow, Associate Professor of Computational Biology, Department of Computer Science
Dr Drummond will outline the mathematical models underlying the field of Bayesian phylogenetics and their application to a range of problems in evolution and molecular epidemiology. He will also describe BEAST (Bayesian Evolutionary Analysis by Sampling Trees), a popular software package for Bayesian phylogenetics, with contributions from a network of international researchers including my research group and long-time collaborators at UCLA and the University of Edinburgh.
After describing the basic models (Kingman’s coalescent and Felsenstein’s phylogenetic likelihood), Dr Drummond will outline the advances that allow the application of these models to rapidly-evolving viruses and the subsequent application of these models to a better understanding of key human pathogens such as HIV-1, Hepatitis C and Influenza.
He will then turn his attention to the task of identifying evolutionary relationships between closely-related species from multiple loci. This pursuit is rapidly re-casting the debate about species concepts by providing an operational definition of species based solely on molecular data.