Highlander Lab

Gregor Gorjanc

Professor / Personal Chair in Selective Breeding

Research at the Highlander Lab


I lead the Highlander Lab, where we manage and improve populations using data science, genetics, and breeding. I am interested in:

  • Methods for genetics and breeding

  • Design and optimisation of breeding programs
  • Analysis of data to unravel biology and find new ways of improving populations.

My post is funded via the Roslin Institute, The Royal Society Industry Fellowship, and other projects:

HighlanderLab projects

I’m also affiliated with:

The Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Systems (University of Edinburgh)

The Centre for Statistics (University of Edinburgh)

The Biotechnical Faculty (University of Ljubljana)

You can reach me via e-mail:



I grew up in a city, but my dad came from a farming background. In high school, I started to help on the farm and became more interested in the work that went on there. This led me to pursue an engineering degree in Animal Science at the Biotechnical Faculty (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia). During my degree, I discovered that statistics and its pervasive use in quantitative genetics and breeding align with my interests in biology, maths, and farming. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to tutor younger generations of students - through these interactions, I honed my understanding of the area. At the same time, I developed a passion for teaching and research. This naturally led to a PhD in Genetics (also Biotechnical Faculty, University of Ljubljana). During this time, I worked with the faculty on quantitative genetics, breeding of various livestock (pigs, cattle, sheep, and goats), and management of the national gene bank. After the PhD, I obtained an Assistant Professor position at the same faculty to help with the teaching. At that time, I developed experience with genomics and its use in breeding. I also continued to expand my knowledge on breeding different species, but this time also in plants, through collaboration with public and private breeding organisations. This exploration lead me to an increasingly international career and a move to The Roslin Institute. I held several posts at the Institute until I formed the HighlanderLab.

See also:

Hobbies and personal interests

  • Hiking and exploring undiscovered Scotland
  • Sport (trail running, wild swimming, ...)
  • Fantasy books and movies