Giovanna Weykopf

Thesis title: Prioritization and Functional Analysis of Covid-19 Host Genetic Risk Variants

MRC HGU PhD Programme

Year of study: 3

  • MRC Human Genetics Unit
  • The Institute of Genetics and Cancer
  • College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine

Contact details



MRC Human Genetics Unit,
Institute of Genetics and Cancer
at the University of Edinburgh
Western General Hospital

Post code


BSc Biological Sciences (Molecular Genetics), The University of Edinburgh

Undergraduate teaching

Demonstrator for the School of Biological Sciences across 1st-3rd year courses

Research summary

My interest is in understanding how human genetic variation in the non-coding genome can contribute to disease outcome. In particular, I am interested in genetic variants which impact regulatory elements and thereby modulate expression of their target gene. My PhD focuses on functional follow-up of host genetic associations with severe COVID-19. To this end, I am taking a a two-fold approach:

1) I employ STARR-sequencing, a type of massively parallel reporter assay, to prioritise risk variants for further study in a relevant cell type context. 

2)  I investigates underlying mechanisms at a single locus using targeted approaches such as CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing.

I am jointly supervised by Dr Simon Biddie, Prof Wendy Bickmore and Prof Kenneth Baillie and based at the MRC Human Genetics Unit and the Institute of Genetics and Cancer.