My main research areas are virus evolution, genome evolution, experimental evolution and computational molecular evolution. I currently work as a Postdoc at the University of Vienna, Austria, where I obtained a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (H2020-MSCA-IF2019 891572). Intrigued by viruses, I am studying the evolutionary relationships between giant viruses and their hosts. Viruses are obligate intracellular parasites that have long been considered to be small in terms of particle and genome size compared to cellular life forms. Giant viruses have blurred the classic definition of viruses, as their recent discovery eliminated the separation of cellular and viral genomes by size. Moreover, their discovery raised major questions about the origin and evolution of viruses. Two opposing theories exist, however, both suggest that the host plays an important role in giant virus evolution.
I studied my Bachelor of Applied Science at the Institute for Life Sciences & Chemistry at HU University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands. In my third and fourth year of University, I performed research on both the development of a vaccine against infectious bursal disease virus in poultry (Fort Dodge Animal Health Holland, Weesp, The Netherlands) and on the use of fluorescent cell sorting of microbial communities (CSISP/FISABIO, Valencia, Spain). Through this two internships, I gained experience and interest in experimental approaches to study microbes and viruses. Following this period, I returned to Valencia to the Center for Public Health Research (CSISP/FISABIO), where I performed experimental (to study the etiological role of certain papillomaviruses in cancer lesions in horses) and computational (to study the phylogenetic relationships among papillomaviruses) work, and got my MSc degree in Molecular, Cellular and Genetic Biology.
For my PhD, I moved to work with Santiago F. Elena and Mark P. Zwart at the Institute for Plant Molecular and Cell Biology (IBMCP, Valencia, Spain). Here, I studied the evolution of genome architecture and complexity in a plant RNA virus, funded by the John Templeton Foundation (JTF22371) and the EU FP7 Program (FP7-ICT-2013-10 610427 EvoEvo). In this project I performed experimental evolution of a small RNA virus to asses the stability of changes in its genome architecture (relocation, duplication and insertion of foreign genes). Before moving to Vienna, I worked as a Postdoc at CNRS MIVEGEC in Montpellier, France, where I obtained a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (H2020-MSCA-IF2016 750180). For this project, I studied key events that occurred during papillomavirus genome evolution.
My current and past research topics include the following:
Don't hesitate to contact me through here or ResearchGate for access to articles or data I have for some reason not shared or if you are looking to collaborate.