The center is lead by Rasmus Nielsen, Stefan Sommer, Christy Hipsley and Mads Nielsen. Christine Andersen serves as project manager.

PhDs and postdocs:


  • Lily Bao, ShangHai University, China
  • Thomas Besnier, Centrale Lille, France


  • Gefan Yang, UCPH
  • Dmitriy Nielsen, UCPH
  • Shakir Yousefi, UCPH

Stefan Horst Sommer, Professor, DIKU, UCPH. Expertise in geometric methods for statistical analysis of nonlinear data with application to shape spaces, functional data analysis, and image registration. This includes foundational and algorithmic aspects of statistics on manifold valued data, and computational modelling and statistical analysis of deformations occurring in computational anatomy.
Of relevance in the context of the centre are his studies in the transition of deterministic, smooth shape models towards modelling stochastic variation and in performing parameter estimation for discretely observed stochastic shape processes, coupling differential geometry with stochastic process theory and deep learning. These achievements make inference over stochastically varying shapes possible necessary for the centre’s research aims.

Rasmus Nielsen, Professor, GLOBE, Section for Geogenetics, UCPH and Professor of Computational Biology, Departments of Integrative Biology and of Statistics, the University of California, Berkeley.
Expertise in statistical and computational aspects of evolutionary theory and genetics as they relate to evolutionary biology.  Of central interest has been what happens at the molecular levels as one species is transformed into another over evolutionary time. To address this, he has developed computational methods and applied them to large scale genomic data and applied statistical methods in other aspects of population genetics, medical genetics, phylogenetics, molecular ecology, and molecular evolution.
Of relevance in the context of the centre are his studies of population genetic inferences using phylogentic methods for detecting natural selection. He uses Brownian motion and related processes to model evolutionary change of gene-expression, leading to discoveries of the genetic basis of biological adaptations in Inuit, Tibetans and Bajau people. His methods are widely incorporated into popular techniques for testing phylogentic hypotheses, such as PAML, allowing detection of the molecular signatures of natural selection. 

Mads Nielsen, Professor, DIKU, UCPH. Expertise in computer vision, machine learning, artificial intelligence and image analysis.
Of relevance in the context of the centre are his studies of the relationship between optimization and evolution approaches to image analysis, showing their equivalence in special cases and constructed shape space of tree-like structures with reparameterization invariant metrics; work that has also been applied to phylogenetic trees.

Christy Hipsley, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, Section for Ecology & Evolution, UCPH. Expertise in integrative techniques to reconstruct morphological transformations in the 500-million year history of vertebrate life.
Of particular interest is the application of 3D bioimaging to fossil and modern specimens to quantify phenotypic variation in space and time.  Morphological and taxonomic variation are analysed to identify the contexts under which biodiversity is generated, shaped, and destroyed.
Of relevance in the context of the center are her studies of the evolutionary processes shaping morphology, e.g. evolutionary impacts of climate change in extinct and extant fauna.