Photo: Sylvain Crouzet

I am a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor in the Department of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I belong to the Probability Group and Applied Mathematics Group. I have an affiliate appointment in the Department of Statistics and I am also affiliated with the Theory of Computing Group in the Department of Computer Sciences. I can often be found at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery.

I am on the executive committee of the Institute for Foundations of Data Science (IFDS), a collaboration with the University of Washington, the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of Chicago, funded through the NSF TRIPODS Phase II program.

I work at the intersection of applied probability, statistics and theoretical computer science, with an emphasis on biological applications. More details on my research interests and publications can be found here. My work is currently supported by NSF grants DMS-2023239 (TRIPODS Phase II) and DMS-2308495, as well as a Van Vleck Research Professor Award and a Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professorship. My CV is here.

External Profiles

arXiv, Google Scholar, dblp, PubMed, ORCID, Math Genealogy, Math Alliance


Feb 2024: I was named Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor.

Jan 2024: I am on the program committee of the Great Lakes Bioinformatics Conference (GLBIO 2024) which will take place May 13-16, 2024 at the University of Pittsburgh. You can register here.

Dec 2023: My book Modern Discrete Probability: An Essential Toolkit is now available to pre-order on Amazon. It will appear in January 2024.

Dec 2023: Our proposal, with Tandy Warnow and Siavash Mirarab, for an IMSI workshop on Contemporary Challenges in Large-Scale Sequence Alignments and Phylogenies: Bridging Theory and Practice has been approved. It will take place in August 2025. More details here.

Dec 2023: My Ph.D. student Max Hill successfully defended his thesis. Congratulations!

Oct 2023: I received a Van Vleck Research Professor Award.

Sep 2023: I am starting a three-year term on the Academic Planning Council of the College of Letters and Science.

Aug 2023: I have a new NSF grant.

May 2023: My Ph.D. student Yu Sun successfully defended his thesis. Congratulations!

Mar 2023: Our new course MATH 444: Graphs and Networks in Data Science, developed jointly with Hanbaek Lyu, has been approved and will be offered in Fall 2023.

Jan 2023: My Ph.D. student Shuqi Yu successfully defended her thesis. Congratulations!

Jul 2022: Our proposal for a semester-long program on Meeting the Genomics Data Challenge: Theory, Methods, and Applications of Quantitative Phylogenomics at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics (ICERM) has been approved. The program (led by Elizabeth Allman and Laura Kubatko) will take place Fall 2024. More details to come.

Apr 2022: I was named Fellow of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics (IMS).

For previous news, see here.


Fall 2023: MATH 833 - Modern Discrete Probability [Topics in Probability]

Spring 2023: MATH 632 - Introduction to stochastic processes

Lecture notes and tutorials

Topics course on high-dimensional probability and statistics

Advanced undergraduate course on the mathematics of data

Graduate course on modern discrete probability

Topics course on stochastic processes in evolutionary genetics

First year of graduate probability theory

Brief survey of mathematical phylogenetics

Tutorial on sequence-length requirements in phylogenetics

Summer school slides on probability on graphs with applications to data science

Tutorial slides on mathematical phylogenomics

Selected Publications (full list here)

Species tree estimation under joint modeling of coalescence and duplication: sample complexity of quartet methods
Annals of Applied Probability, 32(6): 4681-4705, 2022. With Max Hill and Brandon Legried.
Polynomial-Time Statistical Estimation of Species Trees Under Gene Duplication and Loss
Journal of Computational Biology, 28(5):452-468. With Brandon Legried, Erin Molloy, and Tandy Warnow.
Conference version in Proceedings of RECOMB 2020, 120-135.
Generalized least squares can overcome the critical threshold in respondent-driven sampling
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(41):10299-10304, 2018. With Karl Rohe.
Circular Networks from Distorted Metrics
Proceedings of RECOMB 2018, 167-176. With J. Wang.
(Best Paper Award, RECOMB 2018)
Distance-based species tree estimation under the coalescent: information-theoretic trade-off between number of loci and sequence length
Ann. Appl. Probab., 27(5)-2926-2955, 2017. With E. Mossel.
Conference abstract in Proceedings of RANDOM 2015, 931-942.
Phase transition in the sample complexity of likelihood-based phylogeny inference
Probability Theory and Related Fields, 169(1), 3-62, 2017. With A. Sly.
On the robustness to gene tree estimation error (or lack thereof) of coalescent-based species tree methods
Systematic Biology, 64(4):663--676, 2015. With T. Warnow.
Likelihood-based tree reconstruction on a concatenation of aligned sequence data sets can be statistically inconsistent
Theoretical Population Biology, 100:56-62, 2015. With M. Steel.
(Honorable Mention, 2018 Marcus W. Feldman Prize in Theoretical Population Biology.)
Alignment-Free Phylogenetic Reconstruction: Sample Complexity via a Branching Process Analysis
Annals of Applied Probability, 23(2):693-721, 2013. With C. Daskalakis.
Conference abstract in Proceedings of RECOMB 2010, 123-137.
Submodularity of Influence in Social Networks: From Local to Global
SIAM J. Comput., 39(6):2176-2188, 2010. With E. Mossel.
Conference abstract in Proceedings of ACM STOC 2007, 128-134.
Toward Extracting All Phylogenetic Information from Matrices of Evolutionary Distances
Science, 327(5971):1376 - 1379, 2010. (Posted by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution.)
A Short Proof that Phylogenetic Tree Reconstruction by Maximum Likelihood is Hard
IEEE/ACM Transactions on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, 3(1):92-94, 2006.

A full list of publications is available here.

Contact Information

Office: Van Vleck 823
Phone: 608-263-3053
Fax: 608-263-8891
Department of Mathematics
University of Wisconsin-Madison
480 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI 53706
updated: 03/13/24