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David Waxman
Published:2011-11-29 Hits:3413


David Waxman

Professor of Biology
Centre for Computational Systems Biology, Fudan University

School of Life Science, Fudan Universtiy

Office Phone: 86-21-55665547




1980-1984 Ph.D. Degree in Theoretical Condensed State Physics, University of Sussex, UK

1977-1980 B.Sc. Degree in Physics, University College London, UK



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.

Animal movement.
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.

Representative Publications
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
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 GP 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 Publications.
Please email me if you have any queries.



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