Andrea Calixto, PhD.

Investigador Principal, Profesor Asistente

Biocomplexity and Behavior Laboratory

Doctor en Ciencias Biológicas con mención en Genética Molecular y Microbiología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Chile.

Líneas de Investigación

  • Fenómenos de comunicación y estrés celular
  • Factores genéticos, ambientales y moleculares
  • Degeneración y regeneración neuronal
  • Defensa ante patógenos microbianos.

Biocomplexity and Behavior Laboratory

Our research aims at understanding how dietary and environmental inputs modify gene expression, phenotype and behavior. Specifically we study how Caenorhabditis elegans and its bacterial diet interact and communicate to trigger acute and transgenerational behavioral changes in both microbe and host. Both nematode and bacteria are genetically tractable, simplifying the detection of specific molecules and their effect on measurable phenotypes or behaviors. To understand both entities at the gene expression level, we analyze their transcriptome and identify candidate molecules in bacteria and worms that mediate a particular behavior, followed by functional in vivo validation and network interaction analysis. Neuronal protection and regeneration: To identify bacterial enzymes and metabolites that delay and repair dying neurons, our lab uses a model of genetically triggered neuronal degeneration in C. elegans. We look for the differences between protective and unprotective bacterial diets examining their genomes and transcriptomes. Using mutant analysis of the individual bacterial genes, allows evaluating the impact of the gene products on protection and regeneration of broken neurons.

Transgenerational defensive strategies. Work of our lab discovered that animals defend themselves from pathogens by entering diapause, a behavioral strategy that is transmitted transgenerationally and ensures long term survival. By using simultaneous transcriptomic analysis of both mRNA and small RNAs from pathogens and worms, we aim at finding the molecular triggers of this novel defensive strategy. We hypothesize that the RNA interference machinery processes these molecules, changing the endogenous RNA repertoire, which ultimately shape behavior.



Corporate building, first underground - Campus Huechuraba - Camino La Pirámide 5750, Huechuraba
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