Berta Verd

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). 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.


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 


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 

I have supervised two Masters projects at the University of Cambridge, one of them resulted in a publication with my Masters student as the first author. I will have two PhD students join my group in Oxford this academic year. 

Personal Research Keywords

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