Dr Lindsey Jane Leach BSc, PhD, AFHEA

Dr Lindsey Jane Leach

School of Biosciences
Lecturer in Genetics

Contact details

School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Leach is a Lecturer in Genetics in the School of Biosciences and her work is centered on developing and using statistical genetics approaches to dissect complex trait phenotypes into their underlying genetic components, in plant, animal or human populations.


  • PhD in Statistical Genetics 2008, University of Birmingham.
  • BSc Hons Biological Sciences 2003 (Class 1),  University of Birmingham. 


Lindsey carried out her Undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Birmingham, where she started working with Professor Zewei Luo and Professor Michael J Kearsey, with whom she went on to gain her PhD in Statistical Genetics. She spent a year teaching A level biology in a Birmingham college before returning to academia as a Postdoctoral Researcher with Professor Nicholas Harberd in the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford. There she worked on the role of homoeologous genes in the hexaploid bread wheat genome using NGS and bioinformatic approaches. Lindsey returned to Birmingham and 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 leader for Genetics for year 1 undergraduate students. She also teaches quantitative genetics, population genetics and QTL analyses across various year 2 and year 3 modules, which focus on various aspects of human genetics, plant genetics, and the uses of genetics in species conservation.

Postgraduate supervision

Lindsey currently supervises two PhD students: Anushree Choudhary (BBSRC funded), and Patricia Ponce (Peruvian government scholarship). Students interested in Dr Leach's research and the possibility of a PhD position, are encouraged to contact Lindsey via email: l.j.leach at bham.ac.uk.

For a list of possible PhD projects offered by Dr Leach, see her personal webpage at www.statisticalgenetics.info.


Lindsey’s research group is centred on developing and using statistical genetics approaches to dissect complex trait phenotypes into their underlying genetic components, in plant, animal or human populations. This central goal in statistical genetics consists of multiple interrelated parts, including genetic and epigenetic studies to identify genomic variants involved, and transcriptomics to explore the genome-wide expression patterns related to trait variation. She is particularly fascinated by the evolution of polyploid species that possess multiple copies of the genome, creating sophisticated patterns of chromosome behaviour and thus inheritance, and posing a major challenge to genetic analyses in these species.

Work in Lindsey’s group includes investigations on:

  1. Development of new statistical methods for mapping Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) in autotetraploid species, and applying these methods to map the genetic basis of complex traits in some of the world’s most important crops, particularly potato (Solanum tuberosum);
  2. Comparative genomics of diploid and autotetraploid species, including patterns of chromosome pairing behaviour and recombination during meiosis using molecular cytogenetic approaches;
  3. The genetic mechanisms of adaptation to environmental change in the environmental genomics model organism Daphnia;
  4. Pedagogical research into teaching and learning of statistics across diverse disciplines in higher education.

Websites: www.statisticalgenetics.info and TRANSFORM

Project Grants

2016-2019 BBSRC Research grant (BB/N008952/1). PIs: Prof Z Luo, Dr Lindsey Leach; £396,196

2016-2020 NERC Research grant NERC highlights topic (NE/N016777/1). PIs: Prof J. Colbourne, Dr L Orsini, Prof Mark Viant, Dr Lindsey Leach, Dr Leda Mirbahai, Dr Shan He; £1,652,574.70

2017-2019: Education Partnership Fund (EPF). PIs Dr Lindsey Leach and Dr Tom Reader. TRANSFORM: Teaching Resources for Applying Numeracy and Statistics for Objective Research Methods; £70,400.90

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. Her research group regularly holds public engagement events in the local community, for example at the Birmingham Think Tank museum.


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.

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