Dr Sankar Subramanian

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Dr Sankar Subramanian


USC Senior Research Fellow


+61 5456 2873
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Dr Sankar Subramanian


Sankar Subramanian joined USC as a Senior Research Fellow in March 2017. Prior to this he worked at the Australian Research Centre for Human Evolution, Griffith University. His research primarily centers around the question of, how does genetic drift influence mutations. He worked on a number of research projects to investigate the interaction between drift and mutations, which include the evolution of codon usage bias in animal genomes, temporal patterns of deleterious mutations in humans and penguins, difference in the allele frequencies of polymorphisms in global human populations. He has developed methods to identify and quantify deleterious mutations in human populations.

Sankar Subramanian is also interested in estimating rates of mutations and divergence times between species and populations. His research also focuses on studying ancient genomes to understand the past demographic history of vertebrates including ancient penguins, tuatara (a New Zealand reptile), moa (an extinct bird) and ancient humans. Furthermore, he is investigating the population history, mutational load and admixture patterns of modern and ancient Aboriginal Australians. At USC, he has started working on the conservation genomics of Australian Dingoes.

Recent key publications
  1. Subramanian S (2018) Influence of Effective Population Size on Genes under Varying Levels of Selection Pressure. Genome Biology and Evolution 10:756-762.
  2. Malaspinas, A., Westaway, M.C., Muller, C., Sousa, V.C., Lao, O., Alves, I., Bergström, A., Athanasiadis, G., Cheng, J.Y., Crawford, J.E., Heupink, T.H., Macholdt, E., Peischl, S., Rasmussen, S., Schiffels, S., Subramanian, S., (60 more authors) (2016) A Genomic History of Aboriginal Australia. Nature 538: 207-214. - Joint second author
  3. Heupink, T., Subramanian, S., Wright, J.L., Endicott P, Westaway, C.M., Huynen, L., Parson W., Millar, C.D., Willerslev, E. and Lambert. D.M. (2016) Ancient mitochondrial DNA sequences from the First Australians revisited. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 113: 6892-6897.
  4. Subramanian, S. (2016) Europeans have a higher proportion of high-frequency deleterious variants than Africans. Human Genetics 135: 1-7.
  5. Subramanian, S. (2015) Using the plurality of codon positions to identify deleterious variants in human exomes. Bioinformatics 31: 301-305.
  6. Jarvis, E.D., Mirarab, S., Aberer, A.J., Li, B., Houde, P., Li, C., Ho, S.Y.W., Faircloth, B.C., Nabholz, B., Howard, J.T., Suh, A., Weber, C.C., da Fonseca, R.R., Li, J., Zhang, F., Li, H., Zhou, L., Narula, N., Liu, L., Ganapathy, G., Boussau, B., Bayzid, M.S., Zavidovych, V.,Subramanian, S., (75 more authors) (2014). Whole genome analyses resolve the early branches in the tree of life of modern birds. Science 346: 1320-1331.
Research grants






Subramanian S, Miller A, Broadley S, Li R

ARC Discovery



Trails of migration out of Africa in harmful mutations of the First Peoples

Lambert D, Xu Z, Olley J, Ford R, Brumm A, Price G, Christidis L, Subramanian S, and He J




Genomic library infrastructure for ancient environmental sample

Subramanian S, Lambert D, Miller A, Westaway M, Li R

ARC Linkage



Characterising the deleterious mutational load in Aboriginal Australians

Lambert D, Subramanian S, Westaway M, Willerslev E, Thangaraj K, Li R

ARC Linkage



Investigating Holocene India - Australia Connections using Ancient Genomics

Westaway M, Wright D, Lambert D, Miller A, Fry B, Subramanian S, Collard M, Li R, Willerslev E

ARC Linkage



Establishing the provenance of Torres Strait Islander remains: genetics, craniometrics and isotopes

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