Professor Ed Louis

Professor of Genetics

School/Department: Genetics and Genome Biology, Department of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 229 7813



Ed Louis grew up in upstate New York, spending most of his time outdoors. Leaving the metropolis of Holland Patent (population: 357) Ed went to study Biology and Mathematics at Clarkson University.

A PhD in Genetics followed in 1986 at the University of California, Berkeley, studying the ‘Population Genetics of Complex Human Traits’. Dr Louis moved into yeast at Brandeis University as a postdoc, then in 1991 as part of the reverse brain drain moved to the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, as a Wellcome Trust senior research fellow in basic biomedical sciences, continuing to use yeast to study telomeres, genome stability and evolution, as well as developing tools for analysing telomeres from various parasites.

After a brief stint as an Oxford don Dr Louis was rescued from an expanding waistline due to lunches at college by an appointment as professor of genetics at the University of Leicester in 2000.

In 2005 Professor Louis was temporarily wooed away to the University of Nottingham as professor of genome dynamics, returning eight years to the day (1 April 2013) to Leicester as director of the centre for Genetic Architecture of Complex Traits (GACT).



Professor Louis’ research has focused on genetic variation and genome stability in yeast with a particular interest in the ends of the chromosomes or subtelomeres. This has developed in several directions over the years and has included:

  • Reproductive isolation and speciation in yeast
  • Chromosome evolution in yeast
  • Genome stability in various mutant backgrounds
  • Telomeres without telomerase
  • Subtelomeres in parasites
  • Genome dynamics over many time scales
  • Population genomics and phenotypic variation
  • Most recently, the quantitative genetic analysis of complex traits.

Past funding has come from the Wellcome Trust, the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), the EU, the National Institute of Health (NIH), and industrial collaborations.

Current funding is through a Marie Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN, YEASTDOC) and a contract with Phenotypeca Ltd.



S. Naseeb, F. Visinoni, Y. Hu, A. J. Hinks Roberts, A. Maslowska, T. Walsh, K. A. Smart, E. J. Louis, D. Delneri. 2021. Restoring fertility in yeast hybrids: breeding and quantitative genetics of beneficial traits. PNAS 118 (38): e2101242118.

David BH Barton; Danae Georghiou; Neelam Dave; Majed Alghamdi; Thomas Walsh; Edward J. Louis*; Steven Scott Foster*. 2018. PHENOS: a high-throughput and flexible tool for microorganism growth phenotyping on solid media. BMC Microbiology (2018) 18:9.

B. Dujon and E.J. Louis. 2017. Genome diversity and evolution in the budding yeasts (Saccharomycotina). Genetics 206: 717-750.

Becker, M. M. and E. J. Louis. 2014. Genomics of Subtelomeres: Technical Problems, Solutions and the Future. In, Louis, E. J. and Becker M. M., Eds. Subtelomeres. Chapter 15. pp. 259-271. Springer, Heidelberg.

Francisco A. Cubillos, Leopold Parts, Francisco Salinas, Anders Bergström, Eugenio Scovacricchi, Amin Zia, Christopher J. R. Illingworth, Ville Mustonen, Sebastian Ibstedt, Jonas Warringer, Edward J. Louis, Richard Durbin and Gianni Liti. 2013. High resolution mapping of complex traits with a four-parent advanced intercross yeast population. Genetics 195:1141-1155.

Gianni Liti and Edward J Louis. 2012. Advances in Quantitative Trait Analysis in Yeast. PLoS Genetics 8(8): e1002912.

Louis, E. J. 2011. Population genomics and speciation in yeasts. Fungal Biology Reviews 25: 136-142.

Gianni Liti, David M. Carter, Alan M. Moses, Jonas Warringer, Leopold Parts, Stephen A. James, Robert P. Davey, Ian N. Roberts, Austin Burt, Vassiliki Koufopanou, Isheng J. Tsai, Casey M. Bergman, Douda Bensasson, Michael J. T. O'Kelly, Alexander Van Oudenaarden, David B. H. Barton, Elizabeth Bailes, Matthew Jones, Michael A. Quail, Ian Goodhead, Sarah Sims, Frances Smith, Anders Blomberg, Richard Durbin & Edward J. Louis, 2009. Population genomics of domestic and wild yeasts. Nature 458: 337-341.

Liti, G., Barton, D.B.H. and E.J. Louis, Sequence diversity, reproductive isolation and species concepts in Saccharomyces. Genetics, 2006. 174(2):839-50.

Goffeau, A., B.G. Barrell, H. Bussey, R.W. Davis, B. Dujon, H. Feldmann, F. Galibert, J.D. Hoheisel, C. Jacq, M. Johnston, E.J. Louis, H.W. Mewes, Y. Murakami, P. Philippsen, H. Tettelin and S.G. Oliver, Life with 6000 genes. Science, 1996. 274(5287): p. 546, 563-7.


Professor Louis supervises projects in yeast genetics and genomics, quantitative genetics, and translational research in biotech and biopharma using yeast as a model.


Steered research project: Complex traits from Genotype to Phenotype

Press and media

Enterprise and taking research to industry


Member Board of Directors of Earlham Enterprises Limited (since November 2021)

Contributing Member of Microbiology Working Group of EFSA (since May 2019)

Member Board of Trustee Directors of the Earlham Institute (since June 2017)

External Examiner University of Edinburgh Genetics Degrees (2015-2019)

Trustee Director of the Frozen Ark Charity (Chair of Trustees) (2010-2021)

Member Chair from 2020 of Eukaryotic Division Committee Microbiology Society (2014-2021) 


Professor Louis is chief scientist at Phenotypeca Ltd, a yeast Biofoundry business, whose mission is to make life-saving medicines more affordable and accessible to all who need them.


BSc (Biology and Mathematics) Clarkson University 1981

PhD (Genetics) University of California at Berkeley 1986

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