The main goal of the Giraldez Laboratory is to understand the cellular and molecular signals that initiate embryonic development to uncover universal principles that direct the development of a new life.
A universal step in all animals is the maternal to zygotic transition, whereby the transcriptionally silent egg activates the new zygotic program and removes the old maternal program. This central step in animal development can be considered the beginning of life from a transcriptional standpoint, whereby subsequent developmental decisions will depend on the correct activation of the zygotic program and regulation of the previous maternal program.
The questions: How the vertebrate embryo activate the silent zygotic genome? How does the embryo regulate the previous developmental program? How do the building blocks in the genome, coding and non-coding elements, orchestrate these processes?
The approaches: We have a multidisciplinary infrastructure (wet/dry) that allows us to combine genomics, embryology, biochemistry and computational biology to leverage the powerful genetics in zebrafish to understand vertebrate development.
Our lab uses computational tools to model gene expression and translation. We integrating data from multiple regulatory mechanisms that we have discovered in the lab, including microRNA regulation, RNA binding proteins activity, Translation, upstreamORF regulation, and codon mediated regulation.
Our research spans epigenetics, long non-coding RNAs, RNA-seq, structural RNA-seq, single-cell transcriptomics, ribosome profiling, iClip, gene networks and expression analysis
Several postdoctoral positions in computational biology are available for the following projects. Candidates would our team of three computational biologists in the lab.
The Giraldez laboratory provides an integrated environment for computational biologists and experimental biologists to develop these projects.
Applicants must have a strong background in bioinformatics, machine learning, sequence analysis, statistics and programming. Candidates will join a group of four computational biologists in the Giraldez laboratory.
Research Area: Analysis of autism causing mutations in zebrafish
Description of project: A postdoctoral position is available to dissect the molecular mechanisms that cause autism. The goals are to identify autism causing mutations in humans and 1) engineer them in zebrafish, then, 2) identify the neurodevelopmental, behavioral, and electro physiological phenotypes. Once the phenotypes are identified, we will use chemical behavioral profiling to identify small molecules that suppress the identified phenotypes. The ultimate goal is to define small molecules that could eventually suppress neurodevelopmental defects in autism.
Applicants must have a strong background in developmental neurobiology using a model system.
Research Area: Epigenetics, Chromatin modifications, DNA methylation
Project title:* Study of the epigenetic changes during the maternal to zygotic transition
Description of project: A postdoctoral position is available to identify the mechanisms that regulate gene expression during the maternal to zygotic transition, with a focus on epigenetic regulation. This project combines epigenetics, computational and developmental biology approaches.
Applicants must have a strong background in molecular biology and chromatin biology.
Research Area: The maternal to zygotic transition
Project title: Regulatory networks that control early embryonic development, maternal mRNA decay and zygotic genome activation
Description of project: A postdoctoral position is available to understand the regulatory interactions that control maternal mRNA decay and zygotic genome activation using CRISPR-Cas9 genetic screening
Applicants must have a strong background in genetics and developmental biology using a model system.