Spencer group

Ellen Leffler

Ellen Leffler

Post-doctoral research associate


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


Research overview

Ellen works in Chris Spencer’s group and in collaboration with MalariaGEN on the analysis of human genetic variation data in the context of malaria. She is interested in the impact of selection and host-pathogen co-evolution on susceptibility to infectious disease. She currently works on investigating genetic association signals for susceptibility to severe malaria and characterising genetic variation in the Gambia. She is also using next-generation sequencing data to identify functional variation in loci at the interface between the human host and the malaria pathogen.


Leffler, E.M.*, Gao, Z.*, Pfeifer, S.*, Segurel, L.*, Auton, A., Venn, O., Bowden, R., Bontrop, R., Wall, J. D., Sella, G., Donnelly, P., McVean, G.+, Przeworski, M.+, 2013 Multiple instances of ancient balancing selection shared between humans and chimpanzees. Science 339: 1578-1582. *Contributed equally +Co-supervised this work

Leffler, E. M., Bullaughey, K.*, Matute, D.*, Meyer, W.*, Segurel, L.*, Venkat, A.*, Andolfatto, P., and M. Przeworski, 2012 Revisiting an old riddle: what determines genetic diversity levels within species? PLoS Biol 10: e1001388. *Contributed equally

Fledel-Alon A.*, Leffler E.*, Guan Y., Stephens M., Coop G.+ and M. Przeworski+, 2011 Variation in human recombination rates and its genetic determinants. PLoS One, 6(6): e20321. *Contributed equally +Co-supervised this work