UCL Excellence Fellows 2020-21.
Dr Lucy van Dorp (UCL Excellence Fellow)
Lucy is a computational biologist based at UCL Genetics Institute, Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment, where she works as a senior research and Excellence fellow. Her research leverages large genomic datasets to address important questions in biology and medicine, particularly in the context of human-associated infectious disease and pathogen evolution. Her work to date has provided new insights into the emergence and spread of significant infectious diseases including Tuberculosis, multi-drug-resistant infections and Covid-19. Her UCL Excellence Fellowship will deliver an interdisciplinary framework to determine the factors responsible for the past through to present distribution of major malarial parasites of genus Plasmodium. To do so she will make use of unusual historic samples and ancient DNA sequencing to uncover the historical range and diversity of Plasmodium sampled from human and non-human primate hosts. New data generated, supported by the Excellence Fellowship, will allow spatio-temporal reconstruction of the dynamics of Plasmodium, including tracing the emergence and spread of drug-resistance and the identification of host jumps between human and animal parasite reservoirs. The development of these methodological frameworks offer opportunities to expand to other pathogen systems and ultimately her work seeks to uncover and the understand the past and present epidemiology of human and animal pathogens of major concern.
Dr Marius Somveille (Wolfson UCL Excellence Fellow)
Marius is a biologist aiming to advance our understanding of the forces driving where and when species exist on earth and how they respond to global change. To address this challenge, he mainly focuses on the seasonal migration of birds as a study phenomenon. Marius did his PhD at the University of Cambridge, followed by postdoctoral positions at Oxford, Yale and Colorado State University, during which he studied bird migration at various scales using an energetic approach. As a Wolfson Excellence Fellow at UCL, he joins the Center for Biodiversity and Environment Research to develop innovative models that leverage large datasets on the seasonal movements and genomics of migratory birds to better understand how climate shapes the evolution of migration. Marius's research will provide new fundamental understanding of the spatio-temporal distribution of species but also generate migration forecasts under scenarios of climate change to inform conservation actions for protecting biodiversity.
Dr Naresh Hanchate (UCL GOSH Charity Rosetrees Stoneygate Excellence Fellow)
Naresh is a neuroscientist interested in understanding the brain circuitry of neuroendocrine systems, particularly those involved in basic innate functions, such as stress, reproduction & metabolism. To address these questions, he uses interdisciplinary approaches integrating single-cell genomics techniques, viral tools, molecular and systems neuroscience, and physiology and behavior. During his postdoctoral work, he developed novel methods combining single-cell transcriptomics and viral tracing to define the molecular identities of individual neurons in a specific neural circuit. As a UCL GOSH Charity Rosetrees Stoneygate Excellence Fellow, he joins the UCL Institute of Child Health to study the neurobiological mechanisms underlying brain control of physiology & behavior & those affecting children’s health and wellbeing. Naresh’s studies will provide a new fundamental understanding of brain circuitry and the underlying mechanisms that will ultimately provide insights to develop novel solutions to treat a range of human illnesses.