Quantitative genetics of complex traits


Current and past members of our group.

Professor Albert Tenesa

Principal Investigator

Albert has background in engineering and came to Edinburgh in 1999 to study the MSc in Quantitative Genetics and Genomics. Between 2000 and 2003, he did his PhD with Peter Visscher, Sara Knott and Andrew Carothers working on the genetics underlying complex traits in human isolates at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Edinburgh. After that he worked with Malcolm Dunlop for seven years to understand what are the genetic and environmental factors that lead to the development of colorectal cancer. With Malcolm they were at the forefront of developing Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) in human populations to understand complex traits. In 2011 he set up a team at the Roslin Institute and now he holds a joint appointment at the Roslin Institute and the MRC-Human Genetics Unit, both at the University of Edinburgh.

His research aims to understand what drives phenotypic differences among individuals of a population. Doing that involves a combination of  methodology and theoretical developments, and the use of publicly available data and data generated by the team or collaborators that are used for hypothesis testing and statistical modelling.

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Dr Youngjune Bhak

Core Scientist

Major: Bioinformatics, Clinical statistics.

Current interests:

  • Sex differences
  • Multimorbidity
  • Aging

Previous experiences:

  • Rare disease diagnosis
  • Population genomics
  • Mental disorders
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • COVID-19
  • Ancient genomics
  • Evolutionary genomics

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Dr Meenu Bhati

Fellow in quantitative genetics and genomics

Meenu’s research journey has been driven by a deep curiosity to understand the biology of the genome. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Husbandry from India, receiving the Xceft and Moxel Merit award (2014). She then pursued an MSc with Research track in Animal Breeding and Genomics at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands with a full grant fellowship. She completed her doctorate under supervision of Prof Hubert Pausch at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, focusing on understanding genomic variation, gene regulation and complex traits in cattle. She also gained experience genotyping mobile genetic elements under Dr. Carole Charlier at GIGA, Liège, Belgium. Since September 2022, as a postdoc/core scientist at the Tenesa Lab, The Roslin Institute, she has been studying gene-by-sex interactions in humans and the role of sex in gene regulation in cattle. Recently, she was awarded the prestigious Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoc Mobility Fellowship. From July 2024, she will investigate the role of long noncoding RNAs in cattle using multiomics data under this fellowship.

Her broad research interest lies in understanding the biology of genome at functional and evolutionary levels across different species. She aims to integrate genomic functionality to enhance human and animal health, and welfare.

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Dr Mulya Agung

Postdoctoral Researcher in High Performance Computing and St

Mulya Agung is a computer scientist and engineer specialising in high-performance computing and data science. He received his PhD in computer science from Tohoku University in 2020. His work and research contributions span parallel computing, distributed systems, and data-driven scientific computing. His current research seeks to develop tools and methods that allow people to benefit from high-performance computing and cloud computing technologies to analyse large genomic datasets.

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Jing Qi Chong

Research Assistant in Livestock Epigenomics and Bioinformatics

Jing Qi is a research assistant working on livestock epigenomics. He holds a BSc (Hons) in Biological Sciences from the University of Edinburgh and has a strong background in bioinformatics. He has a profound interest in understanding trait variation among individuals by utilizing multiple “omics” approaches.

Currently, Jing Qi is working on a bioinformatics project to develop a flexible bioinformatics workflow capable of designing a DNA methylation array tailored to the user's need and exploring the variation of DNA methylation patterns between tissues and across breeds in Cattle by using publicly available bisulphite sequencing data.

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Yuhao Sun

PhD Student

Yuhao Sun 孙宇浩 (he/him) is a doctoral candidate at the Roslin Institute and the Institute for Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He is a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) researcher with an interest in healthcare industry. His present research is to comprehend the public’s perceptions of current polygenic risk scores, with a particular focus on the challenges preventing the application of this emerging and ‘complex’ technology. The University and China Scholarship Council sponsor his research.

Yuhao’s multidisciplinary background consists primarily of computer science and healthcare. Previously, he earned an MRes in Medical Robotics and Imaging from Imperial College London and a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science from the University of Liverpool.

His research focuses include:

  • Human-Computer Interaction in Healthcare
  • Biomedical Informatic

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Mohamed AboelEla

PhD Student

Mr AboelEla holds a BSc in Animal Science and an MSc in Animal Physiology (Embryology) from Cairo University. His master's project aimed at evaluating the developmental competence of IVF-derived buffalo embryos against cryopreservation. After that, he completed a postgraduate diploma in bioinformatics from Nile University, which empowered his dry-lab capabilities.

Mr AboelEla has an extended academic career path. He has been academically teaching Animal Science at Cairo University for more than ten years. Also, he has a wide range of experiences in wet-lab techniques, mainly in cellular and molecular biology, gained from working for more than seven years in the Embryology and Cell Culture Research Labs at Cairo University Research Park.

Currently, Mr AboelEla is studying for a PhD in Genetics and Genomics at the University of Edinburgh and conducting his research at the Roslin Institute, where Dolly the sheep was born. His research focuses on studying the performance of sheep using 'omics' technologies. In addition, he is working towards building a solid background and skills in quantitative genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology in a way that allows him to accomplish outstanding scientific contributions to the field of livestock science and collaborate effectively with researchers from different disciplines.

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Vasilis Raptis

PhD Student

Vasilis studied Biological Sciences, with a focus on molecular biology and genetics, at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece (2015 to 2020). He obtained his MSc in Quantitative Genetics from the University of Edinburgh in 2021, receiving the Douglas Falconer Prize awarded to the best performing student in the MSc. He gained research experience in human quantitative genetics in Albert Tenesa’s lab through his MSc thesis, focusing on the host genetic background of COVID-19 risk and his subsequent research assistant role (2021 to 2022), working on the genetic and transcriptomic aspect of partner similarity in humans in the UK. He is currently working towards his PhD, funded by the Advanced Care Research Centre at University of Edinburgh and the Dunhill Medical Trust, under the supervision of Prof. Albert Tenesa (Roslin Institute), Dr. Tim Cannings (School of Mathematics) and Prof. Alasdair MacLullich (Usher Institute). His project is aiming to understand how our genome in conjunction with other “omic” factors can affect our risk of developing delirium.

His research interest lies into studying the multi- “omic” background of complex diseases in humans, through quantitative genetic and machine learning methods. He is also interested in the application of genomics in improving healthcare practices.

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Past members and visitors


  • Ana Villaplana Velasco
  • Elena Bernabeu
  • Dr Kenton D'Mellow
  • Dr Lingzhao Fang
  • Dr Charley Xia
  • Dr Erola Pairo-Castineira
  • Dr Konrad Rawlik
  • Dr Oriol Canela-Xandri
  • Noelia Ibañez
  • Gustavo Hernandez Suárez
  • Carolina Sanabria Salas
  • Eva Hernández Illán
  • Maria Saura 
  • Suzanne Rowe 
  • Irene Novo 
  • Andrew Whalen
  • Isobel Stewart
  • Amy Rowlatt 
  • Valentina Riggio 
  • Maciej Pajak 
  • Eilidh Creig