Dr Lindsey Jane Compton BSc, PhD, FHEA

Dr Lindsey Jane Compton

School of Biosciences
Lecturer in Genetics

Contact details

School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Compton is a Lecturer in Genetics in the School of Biosciences and her work is focused on understanding the genetic basis of complex traits in crops and the application of this knowledge for improving crop breeding. 


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

  • PhD in Statistical Genetics 2008, University of Birmingham.

  • BSc Hons Biological Sciences 2004 (Class 1),  University of Birmingham. 


Lindsey carried out her Undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Birmingham (2001-2004), where she started to develop her love of all things genetics and went on gain a PhD in Quantitative Genetics. She then left academia for one year to teach A level biology in a local Birmingham college before returning to research as a Postdoc with Prof. Nicholas Harberd in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford (2009-2012). There she worked with NGS data using bioinformatics approaches to study the expression of homoeologous genes in hexaploid bread wheat. Lindsey returned to Birmingham appointed as a Birmingham Fellow in 2012 and is now a Lecturer in Genetics in the School of Biosciences.


Undergraduate teaching

Lindsey is passionate about teaching and passing on her love of all things genetics to the next generation. She is the module lead for Year 1 Undergraduate Genetics and also teaches quantitative and population genetics in Years 2 and 3, focusing quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis and association analysis to understand complex trait phenotypes in plant or human populations. She is also the module lead for the Interdisciplinary Bioinformatics Group Project module in the MSc Bioinformatics at the Centre for Computational Biology (CCB).

Postgraduate supervision

Lindsey currently supervises one PhD student funded by a Peruvian government scholarship. Students interested in Dr Compton’s research and the possibility of a PhD position are encouraged to contact Lindsey directly via email.


Lindsey’s research group uses statistical genetics and “omics” approaches to dissect complex trait phenotypes into their underlying genetic components in polyploid crops, particularly autotetraploid potato. Polyploid species like potato possess multiple sets of chromosomes, creating sophisticated patterns of meiotic chromosome behaviour and thus inheritance, and posing challenges for genetic analyses in these species.

Work in Lindsey’s group currently includes:  

Development of statistical methods for mapping Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) in autotetraploids and using these methods to map the genetic basis of complex traits in some of the world’s most important crops, particularly potato (Solanum tuberosum).

Meiotic adaptation to autotetraploidy using molecular cytogenetic approaches to address how meiosis can adapt to having double the number of chromosomes, using Arabidopsis as a model as well as crops including potato.

Breeding for agronomically important traits in autotetraploid potato including abiotic stress related traits such as drought, biotic stresses such as resistance to late blight (Phytophthora infestans) and tuber quality traits such as greening.

Pedagogical research into teaching and learning of statistics across diverse disciplines in higher education including communicating statistics to non-specialists, and in development of research-informed approaches for STEM education.

Web Links:



Project Grants

2016-2020 BBSRC Research grant (BB/N008952/1). Mapping complex agronomic traits in autotetraploid potato. PIs: Dr Lindsey Compton; £396,196

2016-2020 NERC Research grant (NE/N016777/1). PIs: Prof J. Colbourne, Dr L. Orsini, Prof Mark Viant, Dr Lindsey Compton, Dr Leda Mirbahai, Dr Shan He; £1,652,574.7

2017-2019: Education Partnership Fund (EPF). PIs Dr Lindsey Compton and Dr Tom Reader. TRANSFORM: Teaching Resources for Applying Numeracy and Statistics for Objective Research Methods; £70,400.9

Other activities

Lindsey is passionate about engaging people of all ages with her science. She is currently the Local Representative and Committee Member (representing Quantitative and Population Genetics) of the Genetics Society. She also represents the College of Life and Environmental Sciences (LES) on the University’s Schools Activity Coordination Group and is a member of the Biosciences Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee. Her research group regularly holds public engagement events in the local community, for example at the Birmingham Think Tank museum.


Choudhary A, Wright L, Ponce O, Chen J, Prashar A, Sanchez-Moran E, Luo Z and Compton L (2020) Varietal variation and chromosome behaviour during meiosis in Solanum tuberosum Heredity https://doi.org/10.1038/s41437-020-0328-6

Chen J, Leach L, Yang J, Zhang F, Tao Q, Dan Z, Chen Y, Luo Z (2020) A Tetrasomic Inheritance Model and Likelihood-Based Method for Mapping Quantitative Trait Loci in Autotetraploid Species New Phytol. doi: 10.1111/nph.16413

Chen J, Zhang F, Wang L, Leach L, Luo Z (2018) Orthogonal contrast based models for quantitative genetic analysis in autotetraploid species. New Phytol. 220, 332-346.

Jiang N, Zhang F, Wu J, Chen Y, Hu X, Fang O, Leach L, Wang D, Luo Z (2016) A highly robust and optimized sequence-based approach for genetic polymorphism discovery and genotyping in large plant populations Theoretical and Applied Genetics doi: 10.1007/s00122-016-2736-9.

Jiang N, Wang L, Chen J, Wang L, Leach L and Luo Z (2014) Conserved and divergent patterns of DNA methylation in higher vertebrates GBE 6(11): 2998-3014.

Leach LJ, Belfield E, Jiang C et al. (2014) Patterns of homoeologous gene expression shown by RNA sequencing in hexaploid bread wheat BMC Genomics 15: 276.

Wang L, Jiang N, Wang L, Fang O, Leach LJ et al. (2014) 3' untranslated regions mediate transcriptional interference between convergent genes both locally and ectopically in S cerevisiae PLoS Genetics 10: e1004021.

Yang S, Liu Y, Jiang N, Chen J, Leach LJ, et al. (2014) Genome-wide eQTLs and heritability for gene expression traits in unrelated individuals BMC Genomics 15: 13.

Wu X, Liu T, Fang O, Leach LJ et al. (2013) miR-194 suppresses metastasis of non-small cell lung cancer through regulating expression of BMP1 and p27(kip1) Oncogene doi:10.1038/onc.2013.108.

Mithani A, Belfield E, Brown C, Jiang C, Leach LJ et al. (2013) HANDS: a tool for genome-wide discovery of subgenome-specific base identity in polyploids BMC Genomics 14: 653.

Jiang N, Wang M, Jia T, Leach LJ et al. (2011) A robust statistical method for association-based eQTL analysis PLoS One 6(8): e231912. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0023192.

Wang M, Jiang N, Jia T, Leach LJ, Cockram J, Thomas B, Ramsay L, Waugh R and Luo ZW. (2011) Genome-wide association mapping of agronomic and morphologic traits in highly structured populations of barley cultivars. Theor. Appl. Genet  doi 10.1007/s00122-011-1697-2.

Leach LJ, Wang L, Kearsey MJ and Luo ZW (2010) Multilocus tetrasomic linkage analysis using Hidden Markov chain model PNAS 107: 4270 – 4274.

View all publications in research portal