Professor Geoff Nicholls

Associate Professor in Statistics

Fellow and Tutor in Statistics at St Peter's College

+44 (0)1865 272860 (Department)
+44 (0)1865 282853 (Direct)
+44 (0)1865 282857 (PA)
nicholls at

Research interests

Bayesian inference, Statistical Methods, Computational Statistics, Monte Carlo, Statistical Genetics, Applied Statistics.   

Geoff is working on Monte-Carlo based Bayesian statistical inference for problems with computationally demanding prior and likelihood evaluations.  Practical computational methods for making Bayesian model comparison for complex stochastic systems are needed. Research is driven by problems from a range of application areas, including Geoscience, Linguistics, Genetics and Archaeology.

Selected publications

  • Welch, D., Solomon, W., Rodrigo, A., Nicholls G.K., ‘Integrating Genealogy and Epidemiology: The Ancestral Infection and Selection Graph as a Model for Reconstructing Host Virus Histories’, Theoretical Population Biology, 68:65-75, (2005)
  • Atkinson, Q.D., Nicholls, G.K., Welch, D.J. and Gray, R.D., ‘From words to dates: water into wine, mathemagic or phylogenetic inference?’, Transactions of the Philological Society, 103:193-219, (2005).
  • McKeague, I.W., Nicholls, G.K., Speer, K. and R. Herbei, ‘Statistical inversion of South Atlantic circulation in an abyssal neutral density layer’, Journal of Marine Research, 63:683-704, (2005).
  • Ewing, G., Nicholls, G.K., and Rodrigo A., ‘Using temporally spaced sequences to simultaneously estimate migration rates, mutation rate and population sizes in measurably evolving populations (MEPs) ’, Genetics 168, 2407-2420, (2004)
  • Mira, A., Nicholls, G.K., ‘Bridge estimation of the probability density at a point’, Statistica Sinica, 14:603:612, (2004)

Biographical Sketch 

Professor Geoff Nicholls, B.Sc. (Physics, Canterbury, New Zealand), MA, PhD (HEP, Cambridge, UK), teaches probability, statistics and applied mathematics. Geoff Nicholls joined the Statistics Department in 2005 from the Mathematics department of the University of Auckland in New Zealand. Geoff took his BSc at the Physics department of the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and his PhD at Clare College,  Cambridge, where he studied particle physics in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics.

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