UCL Division of Biosciences


Congratulations Pongsakorn Wangkumhang

30 October 2019

Pongsakorn passed his viva on 21 Sept, examined by Richard Mott, UGI and Russell McLaughlin (Trinity College Dublin), defending his thesis entitled "Fast and efficient statistical methods for detecting genetic admixture events and its applications in large-scale data cohorts".


Pongsakorn came to UGI in 2015 on a Royal Thai Government Scholarship. He will be returning to Thailand to apply his new machinery to data from thousands of individuals to infer the genetic structure and ancestry of the Thai people. Congratulations, Pongsakorn and best of luck in your future career!


For his thesis, Pongsakorn developed new statistical software (fastGLOBETROTTER) that analyses genetic variation patterns to identify, describe and date historical events where different populations intermixed. His new software is more accurate and efficient than current programs, allowing analyses of thousands of individuals at a time. He applied fastGLOBETROTTER to over 6000 present-day Europeans, unearthing new signatures of East Asian ancestry in Finns, Norwegians and Swedes. He also discovered small amounts of DNA within Belgians, French and Germans that were likely introduced around the fall of the Roman Empire, from sources related to present-day West Asians and North Africans.