UCL Division of Biosciences

Dr Alexandra Jansen Van Rensburg

Dr Alexandra Jansen Van Rensburg

Lecturer (Teaching)

Div of Biosciences

Faculty of Life Sciences

Joined UCL
1st Aug 2020

Research summary

I am interested in the genomic limits of adaptation across gradually changing environments (temporal and spatial). 

I am currently working on two projects: 
1) The Brown Argus butterfly (Aricia agestis) has expanded its range since 1980 in response to the changing climate. At the newly colonised sites they have rapidly switched to utilising a new larval host-plant. I am using genomic data in addition to previously collected behavioural and environmental data to determine the genomic architecture of this adaptive shift, and predict if this will limit future shifts back to the original host-plant. 
2) I am comparing the genomic response to selection over the last century in 20 British Lepidoptera species, by using whole genome sequences from historic (museum) and contemporary populations. 


I am a postdoctoral researcher in Jon Bridle's group where I work on the genomics of adaptation in several species of British butterflies and moths. 

I have an MSc in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Pretoria, South Africa, and a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. For my PhD I used environmental and genomic data from almost 100 populations of common frog (Rana temporaria) to compare the genomics of adaptation across similar environmental gradients in Switzerland and Sweden.