Dr Sankar Subramanian

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Dr Sankar Subramanian


Senior Lecturer, Genetics


+61 7 5430 2873
Office location
A.1.98, USC Moreton Bay
Dr Sankar Subramanian


Dr Sankar Subramanian is a Senior Lecturer in Genetics. Sankar 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. Sankar 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. Sankar has developed methods to identify and quantify deleterious mutations in human populations.

Dr  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.

Professional memberships

Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution


  • 2018 - Queensland-Smithsonian Fellow
  • 2017 - USC Senior Research Fellow

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. Wright, J.L., Wasef, S., Heupink, T.H., Westaway, M.C., Rasmussen, S., Pardoe, C., Fourmile, G.G., Young, M., Johnson, T., Slade, J., Kennedy, R., Winch, P., Pappin, M., Wales, T., Hamilton, S., Whyman, N., Pellekaan, S.V.P., McAllister, P.J., Taçon, P.S.C., Curnoe, D., Li, R., Millar, C., Subramanian, S., Willerslev, E., Malaspinas, A.S., Sikora, M. and Lambert, D.M. (2018) Ancient nuclear genomes enable repatriation of Indigenous human remains. Science Advances 4: eaau5064
  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. 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
  5. 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.
  6. Qu, Y., Zhao, H., Han, N., Zhou, G., Song, G., Gao, B., Tian, S., Zhang, J., Zhang, R., Meng, X., Zhang, Y., Zhang, Y., Zhu, X., Wang, W., Lambert, D.,  Ericson, PGP., Subramanian, S., Yeung, C., Zhu, H., Jiang, Z., Li, R. and Lei, F. (2013) Ground tit genome reveals avian adaptation to living at high altitudes in the Tibetan plateau. Nature Communications. 4:2071.
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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