Dr Alexessander Da Silva Couto Alves

Lecturer in Bioinformatics
PhD, MSc, MEng

University roles and responsibilities

  • Head of Bioinformatics Core Facility


    Research interests

    Indicators of esteem

    • Personal research awards and fellowships

      2018 Research Fellow, School of Public Health, Imperial College London

      2015 Research Fellow, Dept of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology, King’s College London

      2007 PhD Fellowship of the Portuguese National Science and Technology Foundation

    • Keynote and plenary addresses at conferences

      2014 Systems biology and functional analysis of disease genes. European academy of allergy and clinical immunology congress.

    • Editorial roles

      Reviewer for:

      • Journal of the Royal Statistical Society
      • Genome Medicine
      • Nature scientific reports
      • Annals of Human Genetics
      • Bioscience reports
      • Conference organisation

        2007 Co-chair Workshop on Computational Methods in Bioinformatics and Systems Biology. As part of the Portuguese Conference on Artificial

        2005 Co-chair Workshop on Computational Methods in Bioinformatics. As part of the Portuguese Conference on Artificial Intelligence.


      Completed postgraduate research projects I have supervised

      My teaching

      My publications


      Couto Alves, A., De Silva, N. M. G.,  Karhunen, V. , Sovio, U., Das, S., et al. GWAS on longitudinal growth traits reveals different genetic factors influencing infant, child, and adult BMI. Science Advances (2019).

      Couto Alves, A.; Glastonbury, CA; Moustafa, JSES; Small, KS Fasting and time of day independently modulate circadian rhythm relevant gene expression in adipose and skin tissue. BMC genomics (2018)

      Demenais, F., Margaritte-Jeannin, P., Barnes, K. C., Cookson, W. O., Altmüller, J., Ang, W., Barr, R. G., Beaty, T. H., Becker, A. B., Beilby, J., et al. Multiancestry association study identifies new asthma risk loci that colocalize with immune-cell enhancer marks. Nature genetics 50, 1 (2018), 42.

      Liu, D. J., Peloso, G. M., Yu, H., Butterworth, A. S., Wang, X., Mahajan, A., Saleheen, D., Emdin, C., Alam, D., Couto Alves, A., et al. Exome-wide association study of plasma lipids in> 300,000 individuals. Nature genetics 49, 12 (2017), 1758.

      Ried, J. S., Chu, A. Y., Bragg-Gresham, J. L., Van Dongen, J.,Huffman, J. E., Ahluwalia, T. S., Cadby, G., Eklund, N., Eriksson, J., Esko, T., et al. A principal component meta-analysis on multiple anthropometric traits identifies novel loci for body shape. Nature communications 7 (2016), 13357.

      Paternoster, L., Standl, M., Waage, J., Baurecht, H., Hotze, M., Strachan, D. P., Curtin, J. A., Bønnelykke, K., Tian, C., Takahashi, A., et al. Multi-ethnic genome-wide association study of 21,000 cases and 95,000 controls identifies new risk loci for atopic dermatitis. Nature genetics 47, 12 (2015), 1449

      Kato, N., Loh, M., Takeuchi, F., Verweij, N., Wang, X., Zhang, W., Kelly, T. N., Saleheen, D., Lehne, B., Leach, I. M., et al. Trans-ancestry genome-wide association study identifies 12 genetic loci influencing blood pressure and implicates a role for dna methylation. Nature genetics 47, 11 (2015), 1282–1293

      Loth, D. W., Artigas, M. S., Gharib, S. A., Wain, L. V., Franceschini, N., Koch, B., Pottinger, T. D., Smith, A. V., Duan, Q., Oldmeadow, C., et al. Genome-wide association analysis identifies six new loci associated with forced vital capacity. Nature genetics 46, 7 (2014), 669–677.

      Bønnelykke, K., Matheson, M. C., Pers, T. H., Granell, R., Strachan, D. P., Couto Alves, A., Linneberg, A., Curtin, J. A., Warrington, N. M., Standl, M., et al. Meta-analysis of genomewide association studies identifies ten loci influencing allergic sensitization. Nature genetics 45, 8 (2013), 902–906.

      Paternoster, L., Standl, M., Chen, C.-M., Ramasamy, A., Bønnelykke, K., Duijts, L., Ferreira, M. A., Couto Alves, A., Thyssen, J. P., Albrecht, E., et al. Meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies identifies three new risk loci for atopic dermatitis. Nature genetics 44, 2 (2012), 187–192.


      Da Silva Couto Alves Alexessander, De Silva N. Maneka G., Karhunen Ville, Sovio Ulla, Das Shikta, Taal H. Rob, Warrington Nicole M., Lewin Alexandra M., Kaakinen Marika, Cousminer Diana L., Thiering Elisabeth, Timpson Nicholas J., Bond Tom A., Lowry Estelle, Brown Christopher D., Estivill Xavier, Lindi Virpi, Bradfield Jonathan P., Geller Frank, Speed Doug, Coin Lachlan J. M., Loh Marie, Barton Sheila J., Beilin Lawrence J., Bisgaard Hans, Bonnelykke Klaus, Alili Rohia, Hatoum Ida J., Schramm Katharina, Cartwright Rufus, Charles Marie-Aline, Salerno Vincenzo, Clement Karine, Claringbould Annique A.J, Consortium BIOS, van Duijin Cornelia M., Moltchanova Elena, Eriksson Johan G., Elks Cathy, Feenstra Bjarke, Flexeder Claudia, Franks Stephen, Frayling Timothy M., Freathy Rachel M., Elliot Paul, Widen Elisabeth, Hakonarson Hakon, Hattersley Andrew T., Rodriguez Alina, Banterle Marco, Heinrich Joachim, Heude Barbara, Holloway John W., Hofman Albert, Hypponen Elina, Inskip Hazel, Kaplan Lee M., Hedman Asa K., Laara Esa, Prokisch Holger, Grallert Harald, Lakka Timo A., Lawlor Debbie A., Melbye Mads, Ahluwalia Tarunveer S., Marinelli Marcella, Millwood Iona Y., Palmer Lyle J., Pennell Craig E., Perry John R., Ring Susan M., Savolainen Markku J., Rivadeneira Fernando, Standl Marie, Sunyer Jordi, Tiesler Carla M.T, Uitterlinden Andre G., Schierding William, O'Sullivan Justin M., Prokopenko Inga, Herzig Karl-Heinz, Smith George Davey, O'Reilly Paul, Felix Janine F., Buxton Jessica L., Blakemore Alexandra L. F, Ong Ken K., Jaddoe Vincent W.V, Grant Struan F.A, Sebert Sylvain, McCarthy Mark L., Jarvelin Marjo-Riitta (2019) GWAS on longitudinal growth traits reveals different genetic factors influencing infant, child, and adult BMI,Science Advances5(9) American Association for the Advancement of Science
      Early childhood growth patterns are associated with adult health, yet the genetic factors and the developmental stages involved are not fully understood. Here, we combine genome-wide association studies with modeling of longitudinal growth traits to study the genetics of infant and child growth, followed by functional, pathway, genetic correlation, risk score, and colocalization analyses to determine how developmental timings, molecular pathways, and genetic determinants of these traits overlap with those of adult health. We found a robust overlap between the genetics of child and adult body mass index (BMI), with variants associated with adult BMI acting as early as 4 to 6 years old. However, we demonstrated a completely distinct genetic makeup for peak BMI during infancy, influenced by variation at the LEPR/LEPROT locus. These findings suggest that different genetic factors control infant and child BMI. In light of the obesity epidemic, these findings are important to inform the timing and targets of prevention strategies.

      Additional publications