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"What have the Denisovans ever done for us, anyhow"
Irene Gallego Romero will be talking about her research at this CEMinar. Irene is lecturer in systems genomics at the University of Melbourne and human evolutionary biologist with training in genomics, biological anthropology and pluripotent stem cell biology. Her research interests include understanding evolutionary adaptions at both short and long time spans — those that have occurred in specific human populations, but also those that separate us from our close evolutionary relatives. She is also fascinated by issues surrounding the practice of science today — funding allocation, career progression and levels of inclusion and diversity of the scientific workforce.
Irene's lab is focused on human evolution, especially in the ways in which gene regulatory processes have contributed to it. Because gene regulation is not easily predicted from sequence-level data, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are used as models to understand the means by which multiple cellular mechanisms interact to regulate gene expression, and, under the action of natural selection, ultimately give rise to inter-species or population-level differences. Her lab is one of few labs worldwide with an established record in generating iPSC lines from non-model organisms, and she combines this expertise with her experience working with the latest genomic technologies.