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Fellows Directory

Gilean McVean

Gilean McVean

Professor Gilean McVean FMedSci FRS


Elected: 2016


Gil McVean uses mathematical, statistical and computational approaches to learn about fundamental biological and evolutionary processes, particularly recombination, mutation and natural selection, through the study of genetic variation in natural populations. He developed the first statistical method for estimating fine-scale patterns of recombination rate variation from genome-scale genetic variation data.  Application of this method led to the first fine-scale genetic map in humans, helped identify the hotspot-positioning gene PRDM9, and has led to discoveries about how recombination evolves.

He has also played leading roles in efforts to map patterns of genetic variation in humans through the International HapMap Project and the 1000 Genomes Project, made important contributions to theoretical population genetics and the study of mutation and developed an influential statistical method for imputing classical HLA alleles from SNP data.  His work on coloured de Bruijn graphs and graph genomes is helping to make possible the study of highly diverse species and genomic regions.

Gil’s work has been recognised through awards including the 2010 Francis Crick Medal and Lecture and the 2012 Weldon Memorial Prize. 

Professional positions

Director, Big Data Institute, University of Oxford
Professor of Statistical Genetics, Wellcome Trust Centre For Human Genetics, University of Oxford

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Mathematics
    • Statistics and Operational Research
  • Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
    • Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)
  • Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology
    • Genetics (excluding population genetics)
  • Organismal biology, evolution and ecology
    • Population genetics


Statistical genetics, Recombination, Genetic association, Genealogical processes


  • Francis Crick Medal and Lecture

    On 'Our genomes, our history'.

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