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Christina Toft

Christina Toft





Finish date: 2019

Affiliation: I2SysBio, Universitat de València

Fields or areas of research Systems Biology

SCIENTIFIC CAREER: I achieved my BSc (Bachelor in Sciences) in Computational Biology & Bioinformatics from the National University of Ireland, Maynooth (NUIM), awarded with two Gold medals (2005); one for ranking 1st in Biology and another for the best final year research project. The good result allowed me to obtain two pre-doctoral fellowships to carry out my PhD at Trinity College Dublin. After four years of study, I finalised my PhD thesis from the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, TCD. My first postdoctoral stay was in Uppsala University (Sweden), involved in one of the prestigious Linnaeus Grant. Following this stay, I obtained an EMBO long-term fellowship (2011-13) followed by a JdC fellowship (2013-17), starting my research career in Spain. After a small career break, I obtained the SEJI project in July 2018. This grant has allowed me to set up my own research group titled ‘Panomics and Evolutionary Systems Microbiology', at the newly established Institute of Integrative Systems Biology (I2SysBio) of CSIC and UV.

SCIENTIFIC INTERESTS AND SKILLS: My work focusses on theoretical and experimental evolution, with the main aim being: understanding the molecular mechanisms of innovation and their interplay. In particular, I focus on mechanisms which can potential give huge evolutionary leaps and generate biological complexity, such as duplication, hybridisation and symbiosis. Working with both the theoretical and experiment side, means I can generate evolutionary hypothesis based on the evolutionary signature left in the genomes, and then test them in the laboratory. My research work has giving me expertise in NGS (de novo and resequencing of DNAseq and RNAseq), positive selection analysis, comparative genomics at multiple levels, method development, genotype to phenotype comparison etc.

ACTIVITES AND OUTPUT: Since starting my research career, I have been involved in 24 publications (H-index: 14), and in 10 projects, 3 of which of high impact, two as research group member (President of Ireland Young Research award and the Linnaeus grant), and the third one as principal investigator, the SEJI2018/046 from the Generalitat Valenciana program for excellent junior researchers. My research results and developed software and computational methods have been presented in 33 congresses/meetings, achieving in one of them the prize for the best oral communication (EMBO meeting). I have been involved in the supervision of final year project and Master students (9) and co-supervisor of 3 PhD students, as well as teaching undergraduate students. Furthermore, I have been acting as reviewer on SCI articles, including some Q1 journals (Bioinformatics and Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution, etc) and I am a member of the Editorial Board of Microbial Symbioses which makes me a Review Editor for two Q1 journals (Frontiers in Marine Science and Frontiers in Microbiology). In 2018, I was involved in the organisation of a meeting at the CSIC House of Science in Valencia.

People associated with the project as technical support staff: 1