Sandra Beleza


Lecturer in Genetics

Room G8A
Department of Genetics
College of Medicine, Biological Sciences and Psychology
University of Leicester

Tel: +44 (0)116 294 4548



Personal details


I attended the University of Porto, Portugal, and then worked for two years in cell biology research at the Institute of Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto (IPATIMUP), before joining the graduate program in Forensic and Population Genetics at the University of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain, in January 2001. My dissertation project focused on using uniparental markers (Y-chromosome and mtDNA) in European and African populations to address forensic, population genetics and evolutionary questions. After receiving my Ph.D. in mid-2005, I accepted a post-doctoral position at IPATIMUP and the Department of Genetics, Stanford University, California, USA. During my post-doc, I focused on recently African/European admixed populations and analysed genome-wide data to study the genetic architecture and evolution of morphologic and biomedical traits. In November 2013, I joined the Department of Genetics of the University of Leicester to establish my own laboratory in Human Population Genetics.



Our research centres on the application of genomic tools to address questions in human evolutionary genetics, anthropology, and the biomedical sciences. We are interested in discovering and measuring human genetic diversity and stratification related to either ancient population history or recent admixture, and in elucidating the genetic basis and evolution of complex morphological traits and diseases. We are particularly focused on the genomic structure of African and African-derived populations. One common thread in our research is traits that vary in prevalence across the world and therefore have the potential for being successfully characterized in admixed populations. We are currently working with the African/European admixed population of the Cape Verde islands, a former Portuguese colony located 400 km off the west coast of Africa, to study phenotypes with anthropological relevance, namely skin and eye colour, and phenotypes with biomedical relevance, namely host-pathogen interactions that underlie the large heterogeneity in disease susceptibility to Helicobacter pylori infection. We are also extending these studies to other populations, namely those in Brazil, Angola, and Mozambique.

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Contact Details

Department of Genetics
University of Leicester

Adrian Building
University Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3374
E Mail:

Head of Department
Professor Jacqui Shaw

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