UCL Division of Biosciences

Dr Sandra Alvarez-Carretero

Dr Sandra Alvarez-Carretero

Research Fellow

Genetics, Evolution & Environment

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Sep 2020

Research summary

My main interest is focused on developing and applying new methods to estimate species divergence times with molecular and morphologicalquantitative data. I aim to use these new tools in Bayesian dating analyses when combining large-scale morphological data sets (with bothextant and fossil species) with phylogenomic data sets. Assessing the mixing and computational limitations of MCMC algorithms in this type of analysis will be key to understand the compromise between computational time and data size.

Teaching summary


While I was a PhD student (2016/2020), I was a demonstrator/teaching assistant on the following courses:

  • Demonstrator: Biochemistry laboratories [BIO199, QMUL] (2017/18)
  • Demonstrator: Dry lab tutorials [BIO193 & BIO199, QMUL] (2017/18)
  • Demonstrator: Thinking workshops [BIO193 & BIO199, QMUL] (2017/18 – 2018/19)
  • Demonstrator: Free style laboratories [BIO193& BIO199, QMUL] (2017/18)
  • Demonstrator: Stats & R [BIO309, QMUL] (2018/19 – 2019/20)
  • Teaching Assistant: Computational Molecular Evolution course (May 2018 & May 2019) 
  • Demonstrator: Practical laboratories and Seminars [SEF033, QMUL] (2018/19)
  • Demonstrator: IT stats for Molecular and Cellular Biology [BIO190, QMUL] (2019/20)
  • Demonstrator: Statistics for Bioinformaticians [BIO782P, QMUL] (2019/20)

I also led the three editions of a computational workshop for beginners that wanted to learn how to code in R, Bash, and Python; which I taught together with my colleague Dr Diego Alonso. These workshops were sponsored by SRUK/CERU, and you can find the resources that we used in my GitHub account (see the corresponding repositories here and here).


Since 2020, I have been a research fellow at UCL. I am one of the instructors of the Molecular Evolution course (BIOL0033), where I teach the practical sessions together with Prof Ziheng Yang. Since November 2021, I am also a teaching fellow (secondment) and have been teaching the lab sessions of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology course (BIOC0001).


Co-supervision with Prof Ziheng Yang:

  • 2020/21: MSci student (dissertation): Léa Cavalli. Title: "A simulation study to explore the time-dependent rates effect in viral evolution".


I am a postdoctoral researcher at Ziheng Yang's lab interested in computational methods to elucidate the evolutionary history of species through time by using molecular and/or morphological quantitative data in Bayesian dating analyses.

I carried out my BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at University Rovira I Virgili (Spain), my MSc in Bioinformatics at Högskolan I Skövde (Sweden), and my PhD in Computational Biology at Queen Mary University of London (UK) under Dr. Mario dos Reis' supervision.

You can visit my personal website here for more information.