Principal Investigator: Elena Casacuberta Principal Investigator: Elena Casacuberta

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Transposable Elements and Host Genomes

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) (see publications and past projects). I have been especially interested in understanding the molecular and cellular interactions between TEs and the host genome.

After a short interlude where my research focus shifted towards gene regulation in insect metamorphosis (see ongoing projects and, EvolMet in collaboration with the laboratory of Xavier Franch and David Martin)

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 Corallochytrium limacisporum and Abeoforma whisleri, two marine unicellular eukaryotes. Together with Iñaki, 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 ongoing 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.

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