PI: Andrea Betancourt
Current affiliation: University of Liverpool, Institute of Integrative BiologyPh.D., supervised by Allen Orr at the University of RochesterFormer affiliations: University of Edinburgh, Vetmeduni ViennaI am an evolutionary geneticist, working to answer questions about adaptation such as: Do sex and recombination allow rapid adaptation? Does sex-linkage promote adaptation? How do organisms adapt so rapidly to transposable element invasions? To address these questions, I mainly use flies from the genus Drosophila as a model, and apply genomics, population genetics, and Drosophila genetics, with an occasional foray into modelling.Official University websiteGoogle Scholar profile
Jo studied for her B.Sc in Biological Sciences with Study in Continental Europe at the University of Birmingham, UK and University of Montpellier II, France before attaining a PhD in Evolutionary Ecology at the University of Liverpool, under the supervision of Prof Greg Hurst. During her PhD she investigated host factors that determine compatibility to novel endosymbiont infections, following a host-shift. Jo used the Spiroplasma/ Drosophila/ parasitoid wasp and the Arsenophonus/ Nasonia systems to address the tempo of evolution of compatibility and the role of gut microbiota and the immune system in determining compatibility. As a PDRA, she will investigate host-transposable element relationships and transposable element invasions.
Adriana is a biologist who obtained her Master's and PhD degrees in Genetics and Molecular Biology from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil). Under the supervision of Dr Elgion Loreto, she conducted research on the evolution of transposable elements in Drosophila species. Additionally, she spent 11 months as a visiting scholar in Dr Harmit Malik's lab at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle (US). Following her PhD, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Instituto Carlos Chagas (Fiocruz-PR, Brazil), where she explored diverse research areas, including the development of expression vectors for Trypanosoma cruzi, evolutionary studies of gene families and transposable elements in trypanosomatids, as well as the development of transposition systems for mammalian cell transfection. Driven by her persistent passion for transposons, Adriana joined Dr Andrea Betancourt's lab as a research associate to help understand the process of transposable elements invasions and their selective impact in Drosophila species.
Charlton obtained his MBio from the University of Warwick studying sex determination is a nematode species named Auanema freiburgenesis. In March 2023 he started his PhD at the University of Liverpool, under the supervision of Professor Andrea Betancourt. His PhD aims to investigate the evolutionary genetics behind the resistance and susceptibility of Drosophila simulans to a recent invasion of the transposable element, P element.
Marie Curie Fellow
Venera received her PhD in Evolutionary Genetics studying adaptation to seasonal environments at Prof Anneli Hoikkala’s group at University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Before starting her Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship in trypanosomatid research in Drosophila, she studied genetics of mating behaviour (Prof Michael Ritchie lab, UK), adaptation to harsh conditions (Dr Maaria Kankare lab, Finland) and eco-evolutionary dynamics (Dr Patrik Nosil lab, France).
Tom Achieved his MBiolSci at the University of Liverpool, researching meiotic drive and its suppression in Drosophila. As research technician he assists Dr Jo Griffin with her study of transposable elements and thier transmission from one Drosopihila species to another.
Flora obtained a Bachelors degree in Zoology and a Masters degree in Advanced Biological Sciences, focusing on Evolution and Behavioural Ecology at the University of Liverpool. Their MSc project looked at incipient speciation caused by pre-zygotic isolating barriers in Drosophilla simulans. Following this, Flora then worked for 3 years as a technician within the Betancourt Lab Group, helping set up and maintain several long term experiments. In October 2022, Flora started a PhD supervised by Andrea Betancourt and Ilik Saccheri looking at the impact of range expansions on genomic invasions within Lepidoptera. This project aims to examine the historic transposable element invasions that have occurred within the past 100 years across 20 British lepidopteran species experiencing range shifts.
Lianne received her MRes in Advanced Biological Science at the University of Liverpool resolving the transcriptome of the symbiotic bacteria Arsenophonus nasoniae. She has held various technical positions at the Universtiy, including cancer research and teaching.
Her current role in the Betancourt lab includes assisting with research projects and maintaining the Drosophila stocks.
Tom Hill, Ph.D. 2016, Vetmeduni Vienna
Currently a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Rob Uncklessworking on host-parasite co-evolution in the Drosophila quinaria and testacea groups and the evolution of nucleopolyhedroviruses. Tom's Google Scholar profileAwarded a Staatspreis für die besten Dissertationenfrom the Austrian Ministry of Scienceand a Max Kade Fellowshipfrom the Austrian Academy of Sciences
Olga Pawlowska, Ph.D. 2019, University of Liverpool
Olga got her B.Sc. at the University of Warsaw, then continued to get her M.Sc. in medical biotechnology at the same university, working on identifying genetic mutations in patients with mitochondrial disorders. For her PhD, she worked on adaptation to the P-element in Drosophila simulans, which is a sister species of the genetic model, and defended in May 2019-- congratulations Olga!
Erasmus Visitor: Claudia Rámirez
Claudia got her B. Sc. In Biology at the University of Granada, then attained her M. Sc. In Advanced Genetics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, working on polymorphic inversions in the human genome. She studied the effect of transposable elements on the fitness of Drosophila simulans. She is now a PhD student at the Vetmeduni Vienna.
Research Technician: Meg Kelly
Megan attained her MSci in Zoology at the University of Manchester. During her Integrated Masters she investigated the function of Notch3 in vascular smooth muscle cells and the role it played in vascular tone for CADASIL research.
She studied genetic variation in Drosophila simulans and transposable element suppression.
Summer intern: Rui Jia Wong
Rui is an undergraduate at the University of Liverpool. She is currently evaluating the impact of hybrid dysgenesis in the germline of D. simulans males and females, under a studentship awarded by the Genetics Society.
Marie Curie Fellow: Valeria Romero Soriano
Valèria studied for her B. Sc. in Biotechnology and M. Sc. in Advanced Genetics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona. She then got a fellowship to start a PhD in Genetics in the Evolutionary Biology Group of the same university, under supervision of Dr. Pilar García Guerreiro. During her PhD, she assessed the impact of interspecific hybridization on the expression and regulation of transposable elements, using two Drosophila closely-related species -Drosophila buzzatii and D. koepferae- as a model. She came to Liverpool to work on selection on transposable elements in Drosophila melanogaster, but has now won an EC Marie Curie fellowship to work on transposon silencing in Drosophila males.
Postdoctoral Researcher: Ewan Harney
Ewan obtained his MBiolSci in Biology from the University of Sheffield and carried out his PhD at the University of Liverpool, studying developmental plasticity in the water flea Daphnia. Following his PhD he worked at the European Institute for Marine Studies (IUEM) in France. Subsequently he was awarded a LabexMer fellowship to work at the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer), where he investigated acclimation of great scallop populations to climate stress. In his current project he is investigating the selective impact of transposable element variation in Drosophila melanogaster. He is now a Marie Curie Fellow at IBE Barcelona.
Research Technician: Rowan Connell
Rowan attained her B.Sc in Zoology and Genetics at the University of Liverpool and remained at the same institution to obtain an M.Res in Evolutionary Ecology. She is now working on the fitness consequences of transposable elements.