Simon Tavare

Professor Emeritus of Quantitative and Computational Biology

Research & Practice Areas

Statistics, Computational Biology, Bioinformatics



  • Ph.D. Probability and Statistics, University of Sheffield, 5/1979
  • M.S. Probability and Statistics, University of Sheffield, 8/1975
  • B.S. Probability and Statistics, University of Sheffield, 7/1974
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, 09/01/1989 –
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Statistician-biologist Simon Tavaré studies the evolutionary genetics of primates with anthropologists, DNA chip and sequencing technology with molecular biologists, and the vagaries of cancer with medical scientists–all while advancing his own field of computational biology. His expertise lies in the application of statistics and probability theory to problems arising in molecular biology, human genetics, population genetics, molecular evolution and bioinformatics. He is one of the pioneers of the field of computational biology and has made key contributions in statistical bioinformatics. His most famous work concerns the use of DNA sequence to trace the lineage of a cell, an individual or a species, back through time.

    Research Specialties

    Statistics, Computational Biology, Bioinformatics

  • Journal Article

    • Wilkinson, R. D., Steiper, M., Soligo, C., Martin, R., Yang, Z., Tavaré, S. (2011). Dating primate divergences through an integrated analysis of palaeontological and molecular data. Systematic Biology. Vol. 60, pp. 16-31.
    • Wilson, M. D., Barbosa-Morais, N. L., Schmidt, D., Conboy, C. M., Vanes, L., Tybulewicz, V. L., Fisher, E. M., Tavaré, S., Odom, D. T. (2008). Species-specific transcription in mice carrying human chromosome 21. Science. Vol. 322 (5900), pp. 434–438.
    • Grover, D., Tower, J., Tavaré, S. (2008). O fly, where art thou?. J R Soc Interface. Vol. 5 (27), pp. 1181–1191.
    • Dunning, M. J., Barbosa-Morais, N. L., Lynch, A. G., Tavaré, S., Ritchie, M. E. (2008). Statistical issues in the analysis of Illumina data. BMC Bioinformatics. Vol. 9, pp. 85.
    • Stranger, B. E., Forrest, M. S., Dunning, M., Ingle, C. E., Beazley, C., Thorne, N., Redon, R., Bird, C. P., de Grassi, A., Lee, C., Tyler-Smith, C., Carter, N., Scherer, S. W., Tavaré, S., Deloukas, P., Hurles, M. E., Dermitzakis, E. T. (2007). Relative impact of nucleotide and copy number variation on gene expression phenotypes. Science. Vol. 315 (5813), pp. 848–853.
    • Tavare, S., Marshall, C. R., Will, O., Soligo, C., Martin, R. D. (2002). Using the fossil record to estimate the age of the last common ancestor of extant primates. Nature. Vol. 416 (6882), pp. 726–729.
    • Yatabe, Y., Tavare, S., Shibata, D. (2001). Investigating stem cells in human colon by using methylation patterns. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Vol. 98 (19), pp. 10839–10844.
    • Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, Fellow, American Mathematical Society, 2018
    • National Academy Member, Foreign Associate, NAS, 2018
    • DSc honoris causa, University of Sheffield, England, 2017
    • Elected Member, EMBO, 2015
    • DTech honoris causa, Chalmers University, Sweden, 2014
    • Royal Society Fellow, Fellow of the Royal Society, 2011
    • Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, Fellow, Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, 2010
    • Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, Fellow, Royal Society of Biology, 2009
    • National Academy Member, Fellow, Academy of Medical Sciences, 2009
    • Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, Fellow, American Statistical Association, 2004
    • IMS Medallion Lecturer, 2001
    • American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 1998
    • IMS Medallion Lecturer, 1993
    • Fellow (or Equivalent) of National Society in Discipline, Fellow, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, 1992
    • President, London Mathematical Society, 2015-2017
    • USC Endowed Chair, George and Louise Kawamoto Chair in Biological Sciences, 1998/09/01-2013/08/31
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