McCarthy group

Alexander Drong

Alex Drong

DPhil student


Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, Roosevelt Dr.
Oxford, OX3 7BN


Research overview

I am a Wellcome Trust Genomic Medicine and Statistics DPhil student supervised by Cecilia Lindgren and Mark McCarthy. My DPhil project focuses on large-scale assessments of the role of epigenetic marks, such as DNA methylation, in obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) using a combined molecular genetic and cell biological approach.

My current research interests include:

1) Identification of genetic variants that control CpG methylation (meQTL) in tissues relevant to obesity and T2D. This includes novel methylation profiling and meQTL study of adipose tissue, skeletal muscle and potentially pancreatic islets. 

2) Development of methodologies for identification/prediction of haplotype-specific methylation (HSM), with subsequent validation experiments.

3) Integration of epigenetic findings with previous knowledge about variants associated with obesity and T2D traits and to replicate findings experimentally.


A. Drong, C. Blancher, M.R. Jarvelin, C.M. Lindgren, P. Elliott, M.I. McCarthy, J.S. Kooner, J.C. Chambers; Identification of epigenetic markers underlying increased risk of type 2 diabetes in South Asians: the EpiMigrant Pilot Study; San Francisco, November 2012

A. Drong, G. Nicholson, M. Schuster, MolPAGE Consortia, F. Karpe, M.I. McCarthy, C.C. Holmes, M. Rantalainen, C.M. Lindgren; The presence of methylation quantitative trait loci indicate a direct genetic influence on the level of methylation in adipose tissue; Lisbon, September 2011


A. W. Drong, G. Nicholson, A.K. Hedman, E. Meduri, E. Grundberg, K.S. Small, S.Y. Shin, J.T. Bell, F. Karpe, N. Soranzo, T.D. Spector, M.I McCarthy, P. Deloukas, M. Rantalainen*, C.M Lindgren*; MolPAGE Consortia.; The presence of methylation quantitative trait Loci indicates a direct genetic influence on the level of DNA methylation in adipose tissue. PLoS One 8(2):e55923, 02 2013. PMID: 23431366.

A. W. Drong, C.M. Lindgren, M.I. McCarthy; The genetic and epigenetic basis of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Clin Pharmacol Ther 92(6):707-15, 12 2012. PMID: 23047653.

C. M. Lindgren*, I. M. Heid*, J. C. Randall*, C. Lamina*, V. Steinthorsdottir*, L. Qi, E. K. Speliotes, G. Thorleifsson, C. J. Willer, B. M. Herrera, A. U. Jackson, N. Lim, P. Scheet, N. Soranzo, N. Amin, Y. S. Aulchenko, J. C. Chambers, A. Drong, J. Luan, H. N. Lyon, F. Rivadeneira, S. Sanna, N. J. Timpson, M. C. Zillikens, J. H. Zhao, P. Almgren, S. Bandinelli, et al.  Genome-wide association scan meta-analysis identifies three loci influencing adiposity and fat distribution. PLoS Genet. 5(6):e1000508, 06 2009. PMID: 19557161.