Elisa Loza Reyes

Scientific Statistician, Rothamsted Research


Analysis and interpretation of molecular sequence data from both crop plants and pathogens that affect crops, statistical analysis of molecular sequence data, development of software for the statistical analysis of molecular sequence data, the study of complex communities of microorganisms based on samples of DNA material.


The research area that I am most interested in is the study of the total genomic content of microbial communities. In metagenomics (as this field of study is called), DNA material is sampled collectively from the microorganisms that populate the environment of interest (e.g. agricultural soil, ocean water, or the human gut). The extracted DNA sequences are subsequently used to profile the environment and its biodiversity, its dominant microbial classes or biological functions, and whether and how this profile differs from those of other environments.

The impact of metagenomics in our understanding of the natural world has been revolutionary and profound. Insights derived from metagenomics studies have become increasingly relevant in areas as diverse as human health (evaluation of antibiotic effects and other drugs) and biodefense (monitoring of food, air and water quality).

Other fields that have benefited from metagenomics contributions include: medical and epidemiological sciences (developing disease diagnosis and treatment strategies based on the composition of bacterial and viral communities in gut, dental caries, tumours and skin) and bioenergy (advancing technologies that process crops or waste with microbial systems to generate renewable forms of energy). In my role as a statistician at Rothamsted Research, I collaborate closely with micro-biologists in the metagenomic study of soil microbial communities. This is crucial to better manage agricultural soils and minimise the negative impact of agricultural practices.

Check out contributions by and mentions of Elisa Loza Reyes on www.software.ac.uk