Peter Donnelly

Born15 May 1959 Edit this on Wikidata
Alma mater
  • Guy Medal
  • Weldon Memorial Prize
Academic career
ThesisSome interactive particle systems
Doctoral advisorJohn Kingman, Dominic Welsh
Notable students

Sir Peter James Donnelly FRS FMedSci (born 15 May 1959) is an Australian-British mathematician and Professor of Statistical Science at the University of Oxford, and the CEO of Genomics PLC. He is a specialist in applied probability and has made contributions to coalescent theory. His research group at Oxford has an international reputation for the development of statistical methodology to analyze genetic data.

Background, family and education

Peter James Donnelly was born and raised in Brisbane, Queensland, the son of financial adviser, economic theorist and author Austin Donnelly[1] and Sheila Donnelly. He is the brother of Sharon Donnelly and of eminent Australian financier, funds manager and company director Melda Donnelly.[2] He was educated at St. Joseph's Christian Brothers College, Gregory Terrace, and later at the University of Queensland and at Balliol College, Oxford.

Professional life

When elected to a chair at Queen Mary College, London in 1988 Donnelly was only 29.[3] He held a chair at the University of Chicago (1994–96) and was head of the Department of Statistics at the University of Oxford from 1996 to 2001. From 2007 to 2018, he was Director, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics (WTCHG) in Oxford.[4] He is a fellow at St Anne's College, Oxford.

Many leading statistical geneticists worked with Donnelly as young researchers including David Balding, Matthew Stephens and Jonathan Pritchard. One area in which he has a leading reputation is in the interpretation of DNA evidence. He has acted as an expert witness on forensic science in criminal trials.[5]

He is noted for his collaborative work with biologists. He has been heavily involved in a number of large scale projects, such as the International HapMap Project[6] and the Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium, a genome-wide association study.[7]

In 2015, Donnelly was elected as Chairman of the Royal Society's Machine Learning Working Group.[8]

Awards and honours

Donnelly was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2006[9] and also elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2008.[10]

Other significant awards and honours have included:[11]

Donnelly was knighted in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to the understanding of human genetics in disease.[13]

See also


  1. ^ Way, Nicholas (2007), The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 September 2007 Obituary
  2. ^ Bloomberg Businessweek Company Overview of Victorian Funds Management Corporation; Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  3. ^ Peter Donnelly's CV Archived 15 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "History of the WTCHG — Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics".
  5. ^ Lynch, Michael; Cole, Simon A.; McNally, Ruth; Jordan, Kathleen (2010), Truth Machine: The Contentious History of DNA Fingerprinting, University of Chicago Press, p. 193, ISBN 9780226498089.
  6. ^ Secko, David (26 October 2005), "Phase I of HapMap Complete: International consortium publishes most comprehensive catalog of human genetic variation to date", The Scientist.
  7. ^ "List of Contributing Investigators: Membership of Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2", Ophthalmology, retrieved 18 September 2014.
  8. ^ Royal Society - Machine Learning Working Group.
  9. ^ Professor Donnelly elected Fellow of The Royal Society, St. Anne's College, University of Oxford, 1 June 2006
  10. ^ New Fellows elected to Academy of Medical Sciences, University of Oxford, 2 May 2008, archived from the original on 5 May 2008.
  11. ^ a b Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, Academic Staff, Peter Donnelly "CV - Oxford University Statistics". Archived from the original on 15 July 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2008.
  12. ^ Somerville, Cath (1 March 2022). "University of Melbourne confers six honorary doctorates". University of Melbourne. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  13. ^ "No. 62666". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 June 2019. p. B2.