Michael Sanderson

Research Interests

Dr. Michael Sanderson Ph.D., is a Professor of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the BIO5 Institute. He received a B.S. and Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Arizona. Dr. Sanderson’s research interests are in statistical and computational techniques to problems in the "tree of life", with an empirical emphasis on all green plants. Her work aims to develop algorithms and software for assembling data from the large sequences databases for the purpose of building comprehensive phylogenetic trees. In collaboration with computer scientists, they develop algorithms and test them primarily on plant phylogenetic and genomic data sets. Analysis of data at these extremes requires novel phylogenetic inference methods such as supertree construction, resulting in defining optimal inputs for supertree construction, and developing methods for estimating their confidence limits. Dr. Sanderson studies biodiversity informatics are also of great concern, developing methods for examining patterns of phylogenetic diversity in local floristic assemblages. This dovetails with the phylogenomic work in unexpected ways through the common currency of taxonomic names associated with the sequence data needed to build reliable phylogenetic histories.