Natural from Portugal, I lived and studied in Lisbon until the end of my Bachelor’s Degree in 2008, on Molecular Biology and Genetics. From 2008 to 2009 I finished my Masters Degree on Evolution and Development and came to Paris where I completed an internship in Mathieu Joron’s team (http://heliconius.zoo.cam.ac.uk/joron/). Using tropical butterfly Heliconius numata’s wing color patterns as a model to investigate the genetic basis underlying the natural phenotypic diversity, I worked with bioinformatic tools to align and compare EST sequences and map specific genes in a cluster of tighly linked loci associated to the visual wing patterns. This approach combined informatic tools and manual comparative analysis of databases (nucleotide and protein) and allowed for designing gene models and testing expression in order to target the genetic mechanisms plausible in explaining the observed diversity (e. g. alternative splice variants, cis-regulation, etc.).
My scientific interests concern the evolutionary potential of the living systems under constraints imposed by several environmental and developmental factors, acting on the different organization levels from the gene until the species levels.
We now live in the genomic era and benefit from the prolific increase in availability and liability of the new sequencing technologies together with the development and diffusion of the informatics tools required to handle massive datasets generated for both model and non-model organisms. Such advances provide the perfect working frame to measure and modulate allele's diversity and frequency variation over time and space, which sets the path to approach major questions in the field of Evolutionary Biology.
The core focus of my research is the genetics of adaptation and the mechanisms of selection acting on the freshwater eels Anguilla sp.. on a time-series allele frequency dataset. More specifically, at the level of the Major Histocompatibility Complex genes, using population genetics, phylogenetics, and computational methods, I intent to better understand the allelic structure and evolution of the MHC in face of the presence of exotic pathogens and evaluate the coevolution pace established between parasites and host in different environmental conditions, namely different parasitic load and diversity of both organisms (parasite and host). This project allows for a broad analysis of the different processes involved in Evolution, namely selective pressure caused by environmental fluctuation, and migration (gene flow) between demes of fish in a non-structured distribution differentially affected by genetically structured pathogens.