Berta Verd

Research Interests

Research Interests

Much of the phenotypic diversity present in animals is established in the early embryo by the process of pattern formation. Research has mostly focused on the role played by gene regulatory networks (GRNs) in driving this process. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that GRNs alone do not explain pattern formation or its evolvability, and that the evolution of animal form is not reducible to the evolution of genes, or even gene networks. In my lab we take a multi-scale integrative approach, combining mathematical models, experimental embryology and microscopy to study the mechanisms underpinning the emergence and evolution of phenotypes. In particular, we compare posterior development in zebrafish and two species of Lake Malawi cichlids: Astatotilapia calliptera and Rhamphochromis chilingali, which exhibit vast morphological diversity with practically identical genomes. The details of any DPhil project will be determined with the student, and can range from purely experimental to mostly computational, or a combination of the two. The student will be based in Oxford and will be part of an interdisciplinary research team.

Image credit: Shannon Taylor


Qualifications and Experience

Qualifications and Experience 2017 Embryology Course, MBL Woods Hole 2016 PhD Biomedicine, Pompeu Fabra University Barcelona 2011 MRes Systems and Synthetic Biology, Imperial College, London 2010 MSc Medicine, Science and Society, Kings College, London 2009 BSc Mathematics, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona Teaching 2023 Course Lecturer in the EMBO Practical Course: Computational Modelling in Multicellular Systems. Barcelona, Spain 2020- Course Lecturer in the Evolutionary and Developmental Biology, Mbiol University of Oxford 2019 Course Lecturer. EMBO/FEBS Venice Summer School in EvoDevo. Don Orione, Venice 2017 Course Lecturer. Venice Summer School in EvoDevo. Istituto Veneto, Venice 2016 Course Lecturer. Mathematical Basics for Quantitative Biology. University of Vienna, Austria 2013 Teaching Assistant. Systems Biology Summer School. CRG Barcelona  Supervisory Experience My lab in a highly inter-disciplinary group which is currently composed of three DPhil candidates and two incoming Masters students. I have supervised Masters projects at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge.

Personal Research Keywords

EvoDevo, somitogenesis, axial elongation, dynamical systems, mathematical modelling