Dr. Simon Aeschbacher


Research interests

As a population geneticist, I aim to understand the maintenance of genetic diversity in natural populations. Genetic diversity forms the basis of heritable evolutionary change and has a major impact on the rate of adaptation and the persistence of organismal communities. To reach this goal, I address the following three fundamental questions:

  • How do gene flow and natural selection interact to determine genetic diversity within and among species?
  • What is the genetic architecture of traits involved in local adaptation and speciation, and what are the causes and consequences of its evolution?
  • How does demography affect levels of deleterious genetic variation in populations?

The recent explosion of DNA sequence data offers novel opportunities to answer these questions, but requires appropriate models and innovative methodologies that apply to a genomic scale. Using mathematical and computational approaches, I develop and analyse such models. I design inference procedures and apply them to a range of study systems in plants and animals, including humans.

Curriculum vitae

2016- Postdoc at the Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis, and at the Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, Switzerland
Postdoctoral Associate at the Center for Population Biology (CPB) at the University of California, Davis
2014-2016 Postdoc at the Department of Evolution and Ecology, University of California, Davis (with Graham Coop). Advanced Postdoc Mobility Fellowship by the Swiss National Science Foundation
2011-2013 Postdoc at the Faculty of Mathematics, University of Vienna, Austria (with Reinhard Buerger)
2008-2011 PhD in Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh, UK; partly based at the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria. Supervised by Nick Barton
 2003-2007 MSc in Zoology, University of Zurich, Switzerland. Supervised by Lukas Keller

Selected publications

Journal articles

  • Aeschbacher S, Selby JB, Willis JH & Coop G (2017) Population-genomic inference of the strength and timing of selection against gene flow. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America [Abstract]
  • Juric I, Aeschbacher S & Coop G (2016) The strength of selection against Neanderthal introgression. PLoS Genetics 12(11): e1006340 [Abstract and pdf]
  • Yeaman S, Aeschbacher S & Bürger R (2016) The evolution of genomic islands by increased establishment probability of linked alleles. Molecular Ecology 25: 2542-2558 [Abstract and pdf]
  • Aeschbacher S & Bürger R (2014) The effect of linkage on establishment and survival of locally beneficial mutations. Genetics 197: 317-336 [Abstract and pdf]
  • Aeschbacher S, Futschik A & Beaumont MA (2013) Approximate Bayesian computation for modular inference problems with many parameters: the example of migration rates. Molecular Ecology 22: 987-1002 [Abstract and pdf]
  • Aeschbacher S, Beaumont MA & Futschik A (2012) A Novel Approach for Choosing Summary Statistics in Approximate Bayesian Computation. Genetics 192: 1027-1047 [Abstract and pdf]