Comparative Genomics of Non-Model Invertebrates

Ferenc Tibor Kagan

Ferenc Tibor Kagan is working on ESR Project 6: Comparative and functional genomics of oogenesis and animal-vegetal axis specification of animals under the supervision of Andreas Hejnol at the University of Bergen. In his reseach Ferenc looks at how mothers pass on genetic information to their offspring, beyond exhange of mitochondria. The eggs are loaded with a lot of developmental cues from the mother which will orchestrate the earliest steps in the new organism's development. One if these cues are the specification of the animal-vegetal axis by asymmetrical distribution of developmental factors in the eggs. Later in the development, the animal-vegetal axis will have major consequences regarding the body plan of the animal. Ferenc will have the opportunity to study this intriguing phenomenon in ecdysozoan animals. With the help of genomic and comparative methods he will try to find potential candidates involved in breaking the symmetry of the egg. Subsequently, these candidates will be put under a functional validation. Furthermore, comparing the generated dataset generated by his project and also several other projects in the IGNITE network, Ferenc will try to get a better glimpse into the evolution of axis determination.
Before IGNITE, Ferenc studied at the Eötvös Loránd University located in Budapest, Hungary. There he pusued broad interests covering many different topics and therefore was involved in several distantly related projects. These included:theoretical biology, plant biology and developmental genetics. The main bulk of his scientific work revolved around studying zebrafishes. In the early steps of his training in the zebrafish lab, Ferenc was screening mutant arl4ab fishes. Later on, he was also collaborating on fin regeneration studies on Peryophtalmus barbarous. For his thesis work, Ferenc tried to elucidate the function of the morc3b gene by a knock-out approach using the CRISPR-Cas9 method. In his own opinion: "Transferring our knowledge to next generations is crucial. Therefore I was involved in several pedagogic activities. For a couple of years, I was teaching high-school students biology and also I helped organizing seminars for popularize developmental biology among my peers." 

In his adolescent years, Ferenc centered on being a competitive swimmer and his passion towards swimming and sports in general still holds truth in the present. Ferenc always tries to push his limits, when it comes to physical activities. Also learning in general has been pivotal for him, often regardless of the subject. Moreover, even if putting it on the shelves for many years, the importance of arts in any shape or form has been coming back to Ferenc's life recently. Truly multidisciplinary at heart, when it comes to science he is intrigued by most of the fields, be it physics, chemistry or biology. Particularly in biology, however, Ferenc is fascinated by the genetic background orchestrating development and how these genetic programs changed throughout evolution.

Institution: University of Bergen

ESR Project 6: Comparative and functional genomics of oogenesis and animal-vegetal axis specification of animals

Print this article