Success Stories

Research on Fundamental and Systems Biology at the CRG (Barcelona) Dr. Manuel Irimía (RYC-2012-10196)

Manuel Irimía obtained funding by an ERC Starting Grant (2014) to develop his Project entitled Functions and evolutionary impact of transcriptomic novelties in the vertebrate brain (NEURAL AS). More details about this project may be seen at the following link (in Spanish): http://www.lavanguardia.com/vida/20141218/54421604150/descubren-fragmentos-de-adn-que-son-claves-para-la-maduracion-de-las-neuronas.html

During my research career I have worked in various labs from several countries, giving me the opportunity to participate in a wide range of scientific projects and get to know different scientific cultures. After two years of post-grad research at University of Copenhagen (Denmark) and Massey University (New Zealand), I have obtained my PhD in 2010 at Universitat de Barcelona. I then moved to a first short postdoc at Stanford University (USA) and, from 2011 to 2014, I did my main postdoctoral research at University of Toronto (Canada), holding a HFSPO grant. In 2013 I was awarded a “Ramón y Cajal” contract in the Fundamental and Systems Biology Area (RYC-2012-10196). From June 2014, I coordinate my own independent lab at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), in Barcelona.

Over these years, my research has been centered on two fascinating questions: (i) how can a single genome sequence give rise to the enormous complexity of cell types and structures of an adult organism, particularly a vertebrate; and (ii) how changes in this sequence are translated into morphological differences during evolution. My work on these areas has so far resulted in the publication of 58 research articles and reviews, 29 on which I am first or co-first author, and 21 in which I am corresponding or co-corresponding author.

Drawing from this varied research experience, including genomic and transcriptomic analyses as well as techniques from developmental biology, my long-term goals are to elucidate the roles that transcriptomic diversification plays in animal development and evolution, and to understand the interplay and coordination between the different mechanisms acting at multiple levels of gene regulation to achieve this diversification. In the short to mid-term, at the CRG, I will investigate the biological functions of alternative splicing and other post-transcriptional mechanisms in two important developmental contexts: (i) early mammalian development and embryonic pluripotency, and (ii) the evolution of neuronal differentiation and function in modern and ancestral vertebrates.

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