Evolutionary Genomics of Sex

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Wen-Juan Ma

Principal Investigator

Wen-Juan is Assistant Professor at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Wen-Juan is interested in how sex chromosomes evolve and differentiate, genetics and evolution of sex determination, how endosymbionts manipulate host reproduction and the evolutionary consequences, as well as genetics of selfish genetic element and the effects on sex chromosome evolution.
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Email: wen-juan.ma[@]vub.be
Twitter: @WenJuanMa84
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Paris Veltsos

Senior scientist

Paris is interested in the interplay between sexually antagonistic selection, sex chromosome evolution and environmental adaptation. For more information see his website.

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Sagar Shinde

Postdoc fellow

Sagar did his PhD thesis on devolution at different timescales on gene, genome and pan-genome levels. He is overall interested in evolutionary genomics, comparative genomics, molecular evolution on genomes, sex chromosomes as well as single gene levels.
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Barbora Augstenová

Postdoc fellow

Barbora has been mainly trying to unravel the mystery of evolution of sex chromosomes and their differentiation in reptiles primarily with cytogenetic methods. She was especially interested in sex chromosomes evolution in snakes, which were inspiration for the canonical model of sex chromosome differentiation (Ohno 1967).
Currently, she shifted her focused towards frogs to investigate the genetic and possible epigenetic mechanisms underlying the sex determination in frogs.

Email: barbora.augstenova[@]vub.be
Google Scholar:
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Fantin Carpentier

Postdoc fellow

During his PhD thesis, Fantin studied non-recombining regions on mating-type chromosomes in the anther amut fungal genus Microbotryum. He has two years break from academic research and he has been dedicated to his family and to his work in an informatics company, he decided to take up the challenge to come back into research. He is still interested in evolutionary genomics and sex chromosomes. Besides his work, he is a music lover. He also enjoys sport, yoga and reading.

Email: fantin.carpentier[@]vub.be
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Meriç Erdolu

Postdoc fellow

Meriç did his PhD thesis focusing on evolution and speciation in bisexual and parthenogenetic lizards. He is overall interested in evolutionary genomics, evolution of sex, sex chromosomes and speciation.

Email: meric.erdolu[@]vub.be
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Zoë De Corte

PhD student

Zoë is driven by a curiosity to understand how evolution works at the genomic and transcriptomic level. With a keen interest in programming and bioinformatics, they use these tools to tackle evolutionary research questions. Their PhD research focuses on transposable elements in frog genomes and their impact on sex chromosome evolution.

Email: zoe.de.corte[@]vub.be
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Hatice Ezgi Unal

PhD student

Ezgi has a profound curiosity-driven passion for evolutionary studies and molecular biology research. For her PhD project, she is currently working to reveal the intricate mechanisms governing the evolution of sex chromosome dynamics and heterochiasmy in amphibians. During her master studies at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, she developed a heavy metal detecting E.coli whole-cell biosensor in collaboration with several research institutions. She is particularly enthusiastic about interdisciplinary approaches and collaborations, recognizing the profound impact that diverse perspectives can have on scientific discovery. In addition to her scientific pursuits, she is a devoted classical music enthusiast. You can find her in a concert hall drawing inspiration from the parallels between the classical symphonies and the biological harmonies in nature.
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Ricard Fontsere

PhD student

Ricard is overall very interested in the origin and evolution of sex chromosomes, eco-evolutionary dynamics and phenotypic plasticity. His PhD is investigating the evolutionary and genetic drivers of sex chromosome turnover in various frog lineages. During his free time he is an avid chess player.
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Marzie Hsadat Bagheri

Master student

Marzieh is first year Master stduent in Cellular and Molecular Life Science. She is highly interested in molecular genetics, sexual reproduction, and immunology. She is fascinated by the complexity in organisms between genotypes and phenotypes. Currently she is investigating sex chromosome differentiation in the common frog.
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Marie Cecile M. Aerts

Bachelor thesis student

Marie is interested in molecular genetics and microbiology in general. She is particularly interested in the genetics of the reproductive system of mammals and other vertebrates, their microbiome and impacts on their hosts. Currently, she is working on her bachelor thesis on gonadal differentiation throughout development in the common frog.

Email: marie.cecile.m.aerts[@]vub.be
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Tristan Cornelis

Bachelor thesis student

Tristan's scientific interests are evolution, genetics and molecular biology. In his free time he also loves making and listening to music, playing video games and he runs quite a lot. He is currently working on his bachelor thesis on a project with C. elegans about their behaviours and evolution in salt tolerant conditions with experimental evolution approach.

Email: tristan.cornelis[@]vub.be
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Benjamin Aime Allaer

Bachelor thesis student

Benjamin is fascinated by the molecular aspect of biology in particular genetics and microbiology. He finds the functioning of bacteria, viruses and fungi and the way we can use this information to make antibiotics, vaccines and many more very interesting. He likes to play tennis and jogging in his spare time. Currently he is working on unraveling possible sex-specific splicing variants of key candidate sex determining gene(s) in frogs his bachelor thesis.

Email: benjamin.aime.allaer[@]vub.be
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Ezel Bahar Balci

Bachelor thesis student

Ezel Bahar is interested in molecular biology. Currently, she is working on her bachelor thesis on identifying sex chromosome differentiation in the common frog by developing and genotyping of sex-linked markers.

Email: ezel.bahar.balci[@]vub.be
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Gabriel Orlando Bidó Féliz

Bachelor thesis student

Gabriel is very interested in epigenetics and behavioral genetics overall. He is enrolled at the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, and is currently working on his bachelor thesis on molecular evolution of various candidate sex-determining genes across various frog linages with us.

Email: gabriel_bido[@]hotmail.com