The Browning group’s research is focused on population genetics methods for large scale genetic data. We develop statistical methods that make use of the correlation structure in closely spaced genetic markers, and that are computationally efficient for application to whole genome sequence data.

We are particularly interested in segments of identity by descent, which are long segments of DNA shared by individuals due to inheritance from a shared ancestor within the past 50 generations (1500 years) or so. There are challenges in accurately detecting these segments, and then lots of interesting applications, including mutation rate inference and inference of demographic history.


Xiaowen Tian won a Cotterman award from the American Society of Human Genetics for her paper on IBD-based estimation of the mutation rate. The award will be presented at the 2020 ASHG meeting. Congratulations, Xiaowen!