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Dr Lucy Van Dorp
Room 212
UCL Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment/UCL Genetics Institute
Darwin Building, Gower Street
  • Senior Research Fellow
  • Genetics, Evolution & Environment
  • Div of Biosciences
  • Faculty of Life Sciences
Research Summary
My research aims to contribute to the post-genomic revolution in biology and medicine through the use of computational methods applied to whole genome sequencing data to determine the factors giving rise to the patterns of genetic diversity we observe in human-associated pathogens. As a computational biologist, with a PhD in population genetics, my work draws across methodological disciplines, including phylogenetics and machine learning. 

Currently, my work focuses on reconstructing the evolutionary history of significant infectious diseases, including COVID-19, Tuberculosis,  Malaria and multidrug-resistant hospital infections. Through the development and application of computational methods I infer the key factors which contribute to the emergence, spread and transmission of bacterial,  viral, fungal and eukaryotic pathogens. I aim to place these reconstructions in strong societal and historical context. This requires addressing to what extent the spread of a specific disease might be closely linked to human or animal movements, subsistence practices and trade, but also considers the effect of the introduction of a specific drug or the choice of drug treatment in the clinic. 

Therefore my research also covers human demography, migration and admixture history and ultimately aims to connect us to our interactions with infectious disease at both recent eg. the emergence of antimicrobial resistant bacteria and ancient eg. human population structure at the time of the Neolithic revolution, time-scales. 

My main interests are:
  • Human and bacterial (pathogen) population genetics 
  • Haplotype-based methods to infer human demography eg. CHROMOPAINTER and fineSTRUCTURE and to identify, characterise and date admixture/introgression events eg. GLOBETROTTER 
  • Ancient DNA (aDNA) as a tool for exploring evolution at deep time scales  
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in gram negative bacteria  
  • Transmission chain reconstruction, understanding the emergence and spread of outbreaks 
  • Metagenomic screening tools for rapid diagnostics and taxonomic characterisation of species from modern clinical samples to degraded (museum/ancient) sequences
Academic Background
2017   Doctor of Philosophy University College London
2011   Bachelor of Science (Honours) Royal Holloway
    ATQ02 - Recognised by the HEA as an Associate Fellow  
2013   Master of Research University College London
2012   Master of Science University College London/Imperial College
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