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Dr. Deborah Marie Leigh





Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSL
Zürcherstrasse 111
8903 Birmensdorf


Birmensdorf Bi PL B 41


Chestnut blight Genomics

At WSL, I am using genomic tools to characterize the diversity of the CHV-1 virus hypo. CHV-1 is used as a natural biocontrol for chestnut blight and has been blamed for damage in Europe. I am using third generation sequencing technology to characterize CHV-1 diversity in the wild and though out infection. Furthermore, I am using direct RNA sequencing to explore the effects of cDNA conversion and PCR bias on intrahost diversity estimates. 

Professional interests 

I am a conservation biologist, population geneticist / genomicist, and bioinformatician. My interests focus on using genetic tools to support threatened species and systems. Prior to working at WSL, I contributed to the IPBES's assessment of the status of biodiversity and assessed the proportion of genetic variation So I have extensive experience working on the genetics of reintroduced population and captive breeding programs.

Academic History

2019-2021 Postdoctoral fellow "Intrahost diversity of CHV-1", WSL,  Switzerland 

2017-2018 Postdoctoral fellow "Population Genomics of Arctic Seabirds", Queens University, Canada

2013-2012 PhD "Population Genomics of the Alpine ibex," University of Zurich, Switzerland 

2011-2012 MRes "Ecology, Evolution and Conservation," Imperial College London, UK

2008-2011 BSc "Biological Sciences Hon. Zoology," University of Edinburgh, UK


See my personal website for more information: