Roberts studied medicine at the University of Wales College of Medicine (now part of Cardiff University) and graduated in 1997 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MB BCh) degree, having gained an intercalated Bachelor of Science degree in anatomy.
After graduating in 1997, Roberts worked as a junior doctor with the National Health Service in South Wales for eighteen months. In 1998 she left clinical medicine and worked as an anatomy demonstrator at the University of Bristol, becoming a lecturer there in 1999.
Roberts spent seven years working part-time on her PhD in paleopathology (ancient diseases), the study of disease in ancient human remains, receiving the degree in 2008. She was a senior teaching fellow at the University of Bristol Centre for Comparative and Clinical Anatomy, where her main roles were teaching clinical anatomy, embryology and physical anthropology, as well as researching osteoarchaeology and paleopathology.
In February 2012, Roberts was appointed the University of Birmingham‘s first professor of public engagement in science.
Now a familiar face on British TV as a presenter on various science documentary programmes, Alice Roberts is one of the regular co-presenters of BBC geographical and environmental series Coast.
McLysaght was educated at the University of Dublin where she was a student of Trinity College, Dublin and awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Genetics in 1998 followed by a PhD in 2002 for research supervised by Kenneth H. Wolfe on the evolution of vertebrate genome organisation.
Following her PhD, she completed postdoctoral research at the University of California, Irvine working with Brandon Gaut before returning to work in Dublin in 2003. Her research in molecular evolution and comparative genomics has been published in leading peer-reviewed scientific journals including Nature, Nature Genetics, Bioinformatics, Genome Research, PNAS and the journal Yeast.
She has served as senior editor and associate editor for the journals Molecular Biology and Evolution and Genome Biology and Evolution and is on the editorial board of the journal Cell Reports. She is also a member of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE) and The Genetics Society. She served as Treasurer of SMBE 2012-2014 and was elected President of the society in 2017
McLysaght is a regular contributor to public events, and has spoken at IGNITE Electric Picnic, TEDx, The Royal Institution, and The Infinite Monkey Cage. She brought genetics to a wider audience in the Royal Institution 2013 advent calender where she features in videos on human chromosome 1, human chromosome 14, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and the Science Gallery, Dublin.