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.