Bill Ballard


Research Contribution

Ballard's research is focused but has broad application. According to ISI Web of Science (accessed 29 Jan 2019) he has published 1016 peer reviewed papers and has an h-index of 33. He has been cited over 4,450 times. His most highly cited paper was published in 2004 and has been cited over 1100 times.

In 2017 Ballard and his team won the Pacific Biosciences competition entitled "World's most interesting genome" and have now sequenced the genome of a Desert Dingo named Sandy. The sequencing was completed in Arizona and the the de novo assembly completed by Computomics in Germany. The asembled contigs were assembled into scaffolds using Chromium 10X data and super-scaffolds using Bionano Technology at Garvan Institute. Ballard presented a preliminary summary of the results at the Plant and Animal Genomics Conference in San Diego, California in January 2018.

In the field of population genetics his work has informed the debate questioning whether biological species can be defined on the basis of mitochondrial DNA (Ballard & Rand 2005, Ballard 2004, Ballard & Whitlock 2004). He was the first to show that mtDNA can influence multiple life-history traits, including lifespan, development time, physical activity and frequency of genotypes in population cages (James & Ballard 2003, Ballard et al. 2007). Examination of the evolutionary forces that influence mitochondrial DNA continues to be relevant with the increasing use of dietary manipulation to increase healthy ageing.

Professional Experience

  • 2006 -¬†present: Professor, School of Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences, UNSW
  • 2008-2013: Head of School, School of Biotechnology & Biomolecular Sciences, UNSW
  • 2001-2006: Professor, University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • 1998-2001: Pritzker Curator, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL
  • 1995-1998: Assistant Curator, The Field Museum, Chicago, IL

Honours & Awards

  • Winner 2017 "World's most interesting genome" run by Pacific Biosciences
  • Foundation Director Roy J Carver Centre for Comparative Genomics University of Iowa
  • Pritzker Chair of Biosystematics Field Museum, Chicago, USA
  • NSF CAREER Special Creativity Extension (The Special Creativity Extension is unsolicited and is extremely rare. It followed an NSF CAREER Grant that was ranked the highest in its round.)
  • NH&MRC CJ Martin Postdoctoral Fellow