About Dr Simon Ho

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” - Dobzhansky

Dr Ho is a computational evolutionary biologist who is interested in phylogenetics, molecular evolution, molecular clocks, and ancient DNA.

I am a researcher in the School of Biological Sciences, University of Sydney, where I originally completed my BSc (2002) and MSc (2003). I then completed my PhD in mid-2006 at the University of Oxford, where I conducted research in the Ancient Biomolecules Centre.

After staying in Oxford as a postdoctoral researcher for a year, I joined the Research School of Biology at the Australian National University in 2008 as a Lecturer and ARC-funded Australian Postdoctoral Fellow.

In 2010 I returned to the University of Sydney, where I became a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences. I was then awarded an ARC-funded QEII Research Fellowship (2011-2015).

Together with Dr Nathan Lo, I run the “Molecular Ecology, Evolution, and Phylogenetics” research group. I run the Evolution Journal Club, which meets on a fortnightly basis, and also run an annual workshop on phylogenetics. I give several guest lectures each year and am a member of the Honours committee within the School.

Selected publications

  1. Ho SYW, Lanfear R, Phillips MJ, Barnes I, Thomas JA, Kolokotronis S-O, and Shapiro B (2011) Bayesian estimation of substitution rates from ancient DNA sequences with low information content. Systematic Biology, in press. PMID: 21296909.
  2. Ho SYW, and Phillips MJ (2009) Accounting for calibration uncertainty in phylogenetic estimation of evolutionary divergence times. Systematic Biology, 58: 367-380. PMID: 20525591.
  3. Endicott P, Ho SYW, Metspalu M, and Stringer C (2009) Evaluating the mitochondrial timescale of human evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 24: 515-521. PMID: 19682765.
  4. Ho SYW, Larson G, Edwards CJ, Heupink TH, Lakin KE, Holland PWH, and Shapiro B (2008b) Correlating Bayesian date estimates with climatic events and domestication using a bovine case study. Biology Letters, 4: 370-374. PMID: 18426745.
  5. Ho SYW (2007) Calibrating molecular estimates of substitution rates and divergence times in birds. Journal of Avian Biology, 38: 409-414. PMID: 18286172.
  6. Ho SYW, Shapiro B, Phillips MJ, Cooper A, and Drummond AJ (2007b) Evidence for time dependency of molecular rate estimates. Systematic Biology, 56: 515-522. PMID: 17562475.
  7. Drummond AJ, Ho SYW, Phillips MJ, and Rambaut A (2006) Relaxed phylogenetics and dating with confidence. PLoS Biology, 4: e88. PMID: 16683862.
  8. Ho SYW, and Larson G (2006) Molecular clocks: When times are a-changin'. Trends in Genetics, 22: 79-83. PMID: 16356585.
  9. Ho SYW, Phillips MJ, Cooper A, and Drummond AJ (2005b) Time dependency of molecular rate estimates and systematic overestimation of recent divergence times. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 22: 1561-1568. PMID: 15814826.
  10. Ho SYW, Phillips MJ, Drummond AJ, Cooper A (2005a) Accuracy of rate estimation using relaxed-clock models with a critical focus on the early metazoan radiation. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 22: 1355-1363. PMID: 15758207.