Professor Alexei Drummond

BSc, PhD


I am an evolutionary biologist, computational scientist, trail runner, rock climber, hiker, bird-watcher, environmentalist and atheist.

I am the Director of the Centre for Computational Evolution at the University of Auckland, co-inventor of the academic open-source software BEAST and co-founder of the commercial Geneious scientific software package.

I advocate open science (collegial, cooperative, equitable, transparent), including open access, open data and open source.

I have >20 years of Java programming experience and research expertise in computational biology, especially for understanding evolutionary biology, population genetics and the epidemic spread of infectious diseases through analysis of genomic diversity and related data.

I completed my BSc (1996) and PhD in Bioinformatics (2002) at the University of Auckland. I spent 3 years at the University of Oxford doing post-doctoral research in the Department of Statistics and the Department of Zoology before returning to the University of Auckland in 2005 to take up a Lecturership in Bioinformatics in the Department of Computer Science.

For more details see my webpage

Research | Current

Alexei’s research interests are centered around probabilistic models of molecular evolution and population genetics.

  • Algorithms in bioinformatics, computational biology, computational evolution
  • Bioinformatics software development
  • Complexity theory
  • Computational modeling and analysis of genes, genomes and natural populations
  • Inference and simulation of evolutionary processes in biology

Teaching | Current

James Cook Research Fellowship for 2020 and 2021


  • Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 2015
  • Research Medal, New Zealand Association of Scientists, 2011
  • North and South New Zealander of the Year in Science, 2011
  • Mitchell Prize, International Society for Bayesian Analysis, 2011 [With co-authors]
  • Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, Royal Society of New Zealand, 2010
  • Hamilton Memorial Prize, Royal Society of New Zealand, 2007
  • Best Doctoral Thesis, Faculty of Science, University of Auckland, 2002
  • Society for Systematic Biology, Ernst Mayr Award, 2001
  • New Zealand ACM Programming Competition Overall Champion, 1996


Director of the Centre for Computational Biology

Areas of expertise

Evolutionary biology, Computational biology, Java programming, Bayesian inference, Markov chain Monte Carlo, molecular evolutionary theory, biological sequence analysis, population genetics, coalescent theory, phylodynamics.

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Bouckaert, R., Vaughan, T. G., Barido-Sottani, J., Duchêne S, Fourment, M., Gavryushkina, A., ... De Maio, N. (2019). BEAST 2.5: An advanced software platform for Bayesian evolutionary analysis. PLoS computational biology, 15 (4)10.1371/journal.pcbi.1006650
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Remco Bouckaert, Walter Xie
  • Ogilvie, H. A., Bouckaert, R. R., & Drummond, A. J. (2017). StarBEAST2 brings faster species tree inference and accurate estimates of substitution rates. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 34 (8), 2101-2114. 10.1093/molbev/msx126
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Remco Bouckaert
  • Vaughan, T. G., Welch, D., Drummond, A. J., Biggs, P. J., George, T., & French, N. P. (2017). Inferring ancestral recombination graphs from bacterial genomic data. Genetics, 205 (2), 857-870. 10.1534/genetics.116.193425
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: David Welch
  • Bouckaert, R. R., & Drummond, A. J. (2017). bModelTest: Bayesian phylogenetic site model averaging and model comparison. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 1710.1186/s12862-017-0890-6
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Remco Bouckaert
  • Gavryushkina, A., Heath, T. A., Ksepka, D. T., Stadler, T., Welch, D., & Drummond, A. J. (2017). Bayesian total-evidence dating reveals the recent crown radiation of penguins. Systematic Biology, 66 (1), 57-73. 10.1093/sysbio/syw060
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: David Welch
  • Gavryushkin, A., & Drummond, A. J. (2016). The space of ultrametric phylogenetic trees. Journal of theoretical biology, 403, 197-208. 10.1016/j.jtbi.2016.05.001
  • Kühnert D, Stadler, T., Vaughan, T. G., & Drummond, A. J. (2016). Phylodynamics with Migration: A Computational Framework to Quantify Population Structure from Genomic Data. Molecular biology and evolution, 33 (8), 2102-2116. 10.1093/molbev/msw064
  • Drummond, A. J., & Stadler, T. (2016). Bayesian phylogenetic estimation of fossil ages. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371 (1699)10.1098/rstb.2015.0129

Contact details

Alternative contact

Primary office location

Level 4, Room 403
New Zealand

Social links

Web links