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Research teams

Computational Population Genetics and Evolution
Team Leader: Ramon y Cajal fellow Miguel Arenas (marenas@uvigo.es)
Miguel Arenas’ Computational Population Genetics and Evolution Team is interested in understanding the evolution of organisms at the population and molecular levels. The team also develops models, methods and frameworks for the evolutionary analysis of genetic data.

 
Comparative genomics
Team Leader: Assistant Professor Carlos Canchaya (canchaya@uvigo.es)
Carlos Canchaya’s Marine Genomics Team is assembling and comparing different mollusk genomes in order to understand their functional adaptation.

 
Marine genomics
Team Leader: Marie Curie  Fellow Iria Fernández-Silva (irfernandez@uvigo.es)
Iria Fernández-Silva’s Speciation genomics group is trying to answer key evolutionary questions pertaining the evolution of marine fishes.

 
Phylogenomics ERC
Team leader: Professor David Posada  (dposada@uvigo.es)
David Posada’s Evolutionary Genomics Team uses genomic information to try to understand the evolution of different species and cancer cells.

 
Virus and Cancer
Team Leader: Mineco postdoc, Marta Tojo (marta.tojo@uvigo.es)
Marta’s Virus and Cancer team is interested in understanding the epidemiological relationship of different types of virus and cancer.

 
Mobile genomes and disease ERC
Team Leader: Ramon y Cajal fellow Jose M. C. Tubio (jmctubio@uvigo.es)
Jose Tubío’s Mobile genomes and disease is interested in the impact of genomic structural variation on the function of eukaryotic genomes and in the drivers of clonally transmissible cancers

 

Current projects

Cancer phylogeography (PHYLOCANCER)
phylocancer-jpgERC

islandThe evolution of cancer tumors in a body can be likened with the evolution of populations in more or less fragmented habitats. During tumor progression, this population of cells is subject to distinct somatic evolutionary processes like mutation, drift, selection or migration, which can act at different points in time and geographical space. So far evolutionary inferences drawn from cancer genomes have been mostly qualitative. We aim to construct a robust theoretical and methodological evolutionary framework that can contribute to a better understanding of the process of somatic evolution and shed light into the biology of cancer. IP: David Posada.

 

Transmisible cancers under the sea (SCUBA CANCER)
ERCClonally transmissible cancers are somatic cell lineages that are transmitted between individuals via the transfer of living cancer cells. There are only three known types of naturally occurring clonally transmissible cancers, one of which is a leukemia-like cancer found in marine bivalves, called hemic neoplasia (HN). Using HN in cockles as a model for clonally transmissible cancers, this project intends to identify the genomic alterations and mutational processes that drive transmissible cancers to depart from their hosts and evolve as parasitic clonal lineages in the marine environment, for illuminating universal processes that make a cancer contagious, and to identify new/unexpected biological insights into the general mechanisms of cancer metastasis. IP: Jose Tubío.

 

NGS phylogeography of closely related genomes

Our understanding of the mechanisms of evolution at the genomic level is being transformed by the current explosion of massive sequencing of non-model organisms. Together with Rafael Zardoya and colleaguesPSS536ConusGloriamaris54mmFcaughtin50metersdeepsandyandrockyBeniisalnd150gramsSupernicecolorshell152 we are using RNA-seq to obtain a large number of homologous loci from a set of marine snail species, a recent radiation of the genus Trovaoconus endemic from the Cape Verde islands.

Hypselodoris_cantabrica

Also, with Jesus Troncoso at the University of Vigo we are studying different aspects of transcriptomic evolution and using these data to decipher the role of incomplete lineage sorting and gene duplication on the rapid evolution of related genomes. Currently we are focusing in the genus Elysia and Hypselodoris.  IP: David Posada.

 

Mussel genome

mussel

We are currently working on the de novo genome and transcriptome sequencing of the marine bivalve Mytilus galloprovincialisusing NGS technologies. Mussel is a very common and commercially important bivalve in the coasts of Galicia and there is a lot of local research around it. This work is done in collaboration with Antonio Figueras and Beatriz Novoa lab at the Institute of Marine Research (CSIC) in Vigo, and with the CNAG in Barcelona. IPs: Carlos Canchaya & David Posada.

 

The Fish Speciation Genome Project

logo-marie-curie

This is a multidisciplinary approach to investigate the genomic architecture of lineage divergence and the role of gene flow in speciation in reef fishes. We also aim to investigate the prevalence of hybridization and genomic introgression in coral reef fishes and its consequences for the calibration of molecular clocks and phylogeographic inference. This project is funded by a European Union People Marie Curie Action to Dr. Iria Fernandez-Silva (2013-2016) and is a partnership between the California Academy of Sciences and the University of Vigo. More info at http://www.calacademy.org/scientists/projects/fishspeciationgenome-research-projectIP: Iria Fernández-Silva.

 

Structural variation in cancer development
The main focus of this research is the impact of genomic structural variation (especially retrotransposition) on the function of eukaryotic genomes, and its role in disease (especially cancer), participating in the Pancancer Initiative of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) and the Cancer Genome Atlas  (TCGA), to investigate the mechanisms of coevolution between TEs and cancer. IP: Jose Tubío.