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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Professor Richard Nichols


Professor of Evolutionary Genetics

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 3362
Room Number: Room 5.19, Fogg building

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Ecology (Field Course) (BIO123)
  • Practical Molecular and Cellular Biology (Tutorials) (BIO190)
  • Practical Biology (Tutorials) (BIO192)
  • Research Methods and Communication (Tutorial) (BIO209)
  • Evolutionary Genetics (BIO221)
  • Ecological Interactions (BIO293)
  • Research Methods and Communication II (BIO309)
  • Population and Chromosome Genetics (BIO325)

Postgraduate Teaching

Teaching on our Ecology and Evolutionary Biology MSc and Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics MSc:

  • Research Frontiers in Evolutionary Biology (BIO731P)


Research Interests:

Using genetic evidence to understand the biology and history of living organisms.

My work combines the collection of genetic data with the development of new analytical methods. I interpret genetic patterns to ask how populations have spread or contracted, merged or been fragmented and how they have been shaped by natural selection.

I apply this approach to a wide diversity of organisms: 

Trees:  I work with colleagues at Kew to counteract threats to British trees, encompassing projects to identify the genetic basis of resistance to an invasive diseases of Ash trees (with Richard Buggs) and exploiting phylogenetic information anticipate threats from invasive beetles (with Laura Kelly). 

Viruses: with Trent Garner (Institute of Zoology) I study the spread of wildlife viruses affecting fish, reptiles and amphibians, and ask why they have recently appeared in new locations & species. 

Human cancer cells: I work with Trevor Graham (Barts Cancer Institute) using experiments on cancer cell lines to ask if we can identify strategies to retard resistance to chemotherapy, by exploiting evolutionary insights. 

Model organisms: conducting experimental evolution, for example on Drosophila fruit flies (with Bill Sherwin in UNSW), I ask if there are flaws or omissions in our current evolutionary models. 

Crops: I am a member of a project (The Natural Resources Institute and Kew) to identify crop varieties that will be resilient to climate change in Ethiopia.

Research department

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