Alejandro Berrio Escobar

I am interested in understanding the evolution of gene regulatory elements involved with the origins of behavioral diversity and its adaptive value. I use both empirical and computational methods that allow me to study regulatory evolution from single-gene to the genome-wide level. I did my PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, were I used traditional PCR based techniques, high-throughput sequencing on ChIP, RAD and RNA to identify genetic variants that differ between species of voles, populations and individuals.

As a postdoc in the Wray lab, I am using ATAC-seq data sets from primate (including humans) brains, fibroblasts and other cell types to identify putatively regulatory elements that have evolved by positive selection using a branch-specific method. One of the most interesting challenges that I have found in my research so far, is how to identify good neutral proxy to compare different models of evolution in the background and foreground. I developed bioinformatic strategies and pipelines to sample neutrally-evolving alignments across primate genomes, while producing biological data to validate the results. Now as a research scientist at Wray and McClay lab, I am investigating the molecular and cellular processes leading to transfating in sea urchins.

My interests outside my academic life include cycling, soccer, gardening,  cooking, bird-watching, woodcarving and photography.

For more information about my previous work, publications and  interests, please visit my website at: