My laboratory has always been interested in how genomes are organized and evolve, specially which are the contribution that Transposable Elements (TEs) make to the genome of eukaryotes and how both, TEs and host genome establish, maintain and control their relationship. We are currently working in marine protists, see below.

A bit about my career

From my PhD to the beginnings of my own lab, I had always been interested in how transposable elements (TEs) interact with the eukaryote genome, and how these interactions can actively contribute to evolution. I studied DNA transposons (MITEs elements) in plants and retroelements in Drosophila (the telomeric non-LTRs HeT-A and TART). I have been especially interested in understanding the molecular and cellular interactions between TEs and the host genome.

Recently, I have become interested in understanding how regulatory complexity has evolved. An initial project, in collaboration with Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo(Multicellgenome Lab) and funded by the Betty and Gordon Moore Foundation, gave me the opportunity to get involved in developing genetic tools to transform Creolimax fragantissimaCorallochytrium limacisporumand Abeoforma whisleri, two marine unicellular eukaryotes. Together with the MultiCellGenome Lab, we will continue to further develop genome-editing tools in these protists thanks to a new grant from the Betty and Gordon Moore Foundation. Progress on the development of these tools allows now my lab to focus on new research projects to address both the origin of basic regulatory elements and the contribution of mobile elements to genome regulation in unicellular eukaryotes (see Projects).

As a woman scientist, I am a strong promoter of gender awareness in STEM fields and a supporter of peer-mentoring initiatives and mentor programs for young scientists as well as of open access science resources. (see Gender Balance & Outreach for more information).






Contact: Elena.casacuberta@ibe.upf-csic.eS

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