MRC Human Genetics Unit
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit

Chris Haley Research Group

Complex Trait Genetics: Dissecting the genetic architecture of health and disease traits

Section: Biomedical Genomics

Professor Chris Haley

Research in a Nutshell 

Our research group aims to understand the control of complex trait variation in humans and other species. But what does this mean exactly? Well if we look within populations of humans or other species we see that individuals differ from one another in almost all characteristics or traits. For example height and weight, personality traits and even susceptibility to colds and flu or arthritis all differ between people. For such traits variation is controlled by a number of different genes and environmental events or lifestyle choices as well as interactions between these various factors. Thus there is no simple cause of variation between individuals and such traits are termed complex. Our research uses computational and statistical analysis of data where traits have been measured on large samples of humans or other species and data on genetic, environmental and other potentially causative factors have also been measured. We use these analyses to estimate the extent of genetic and environmental influences on variation. Ultimately we aim to identify the most important environmental influences and genes with the biggest impact. This information can ultimately be used build models that can help identify individuals susceptible to disease or contribute to the design of treatments and drugs that treat disease.

Research Programme 1: Complex Trait Genetics: Dissecting the genetic architecture of health and disease traits

Quantitative Trait Loci Research

Chris Haley research group


Professor Chris Haley Group Leader
Carmen Amador Research Scientist
Michael Barber Research Student
Andrew Bretherick ECAT Fellow
Melisa Chuong Research Student
Eilidh Fummey Research Student
Bailey Harrington Research Student
Lucija Klaric UKRI Rutherford Fund Fellow
Panagiotis Kokkinias Research Student
Arianna Landini Research Student
Pau Navarro Research Scientist
Linda Repetto Research Student



  • Institute of Genetics and Cancer, University of Edinburgh: Dr. Kenny Baillie, Dr. Caroline Hayward, Professor Chris Ponting, Professor David Porteous, Professor Colin Semple, Dr. Albert Tenesa, Dr Pippa Thomson, Dr. Veronique Vitart

  • University of Edinburgh: Professor Harry Campbell, Professor Ian Deary, Professor Ross Houston, Dr. Sara Knott, Professor Andrew McIntosh, Dr. Ricardo Pong-Wong, Professor Igor Rudan, Professor Jim Wilson

  • Pharmatics Ltd.: Dr. Felix Agakov

Partners and Funders

  • MRC

Scientific Themes

Heritability, genomic dissection, complex traits, gene-environment interactions, assortative mating

Technology Expertise

Quantitative genetics, statistics, computational analysis, genomic data handling

C.Haley research