School of Biological and Chemical Sciences

Muthukumaran Panchaksaram

PhD student



Project title: Analysing patterns of adaptations in molecular sequences

Summary: The research focuses on the development and assessment of statistical models in population genetics, with emphasis on methods to detect molecular adaptation. Forward and backward-time simulation models of protein alleles in populations under natural selection will be developed. As these populations evolve and separate into different species, the pattern and strength of selection may vary leading to differential evolution of the proteins in the different species lineages. This will be conducted by developing models to measure and test for these patterns of changing selection. It also involves the use current methods to infer the strength of selection in protein sequences and will test the performance of these methods onto the sophisticated data simulations, including explorations of the use of false discovery rate in genome-scale data. Results will be used to re-design and improve methods and to inform the analysis of real data analysis to detect selection in proteins. Case studies may include evolution of lactase enzymes in humans, lysozyme proteins in primates, and other proteins of medical and biological interest.