Alexandra Strang

Alexandra Strang

Profile Display Name:

Alexandra Strang

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2022 (Cohort 9)

Research interests:

ancient DNA, human evolution and adaptation, evolution of disease and pathogens, evolution of immunity, population admixture, past migration, adaptation to different climates/environments

Hobbies and interests:

Videography, video editing, graphic design, public engagement, animation

PhD Project
PhD Title

Exploring genomic history and adaptive selection in a post-medieval population from Spitalfields, London, using ancient DNA.

Research Theme

Past Life and Environments

Primary Supervisor
Primary Institution


Secondary Supervisor
Secondary Institution


Additional supervisor(s)

Rachel Ives (NHM),


This project will investigate the genomic history and adaptive selection in a post-medieval population (18th-19th centuries) from Spitalfields, London. These individuals lived through an environmentally significant period, during the Little Ice Age and the Industrial Revolution, which is correlated with a higher prevalence of infectious pathogens and colder-than-average yearly temperatures.
By extracting and analysing the DNA from some of the individuals who lived during this period, this project will examine whether signatures of selection associated with pathogen pressure or climatic variability can be observed in the genomes of these individuals. As some of the individuals have known identities and family relationships, we will also investigate whether protective alleles, such as those associated with immunity, are preferentially inherited. The presence of known family relationships will be used to test the accuracy of existing aDNA kinship methodology and aid in the development of new statistical methods.
Some of the individuals also have a known cause of death which will be used to investigate the presence of the causative pathogens. We will investigate the ancestral origin of these individuals, to examine the extent of migration into London during this period, and the potential impact on population genetics.

Policy Impact
Background Reading



Social Links
University Departmental Website:

Personal Website:



Stay informed

Click here to subscribe to our RSS newsletter by email.

Find Us

University College London is the administrative lead.

North-West Wing, UCL, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT

Follow us on Twitter