Comparative Genomics of Non-Model Invertebrates

Ksenia Juravel

Ksenia Juravel is working on ESR Project 1: Phylogenomics of non-bilaterian animals under the supersvision of Prof Gert Wörheide at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Her research topic is the phylogenetic relationships among non-bilaterian animals and more precisely the prediction of the basal lineages organization, necessary to understand early animal evolution and the emergence of key bilaterian traits, such as nervous systems, muscles and guts. Larger data sets need to be analyzed to give more information regarding the different lineages. Ksenia will use new non-bilaterian taxon sampling, within Porifera and Placozoato together with previously published data, to find sequence-independent phylogenetic markers and test the many controversially discussed hypotheses. Additionally, she will use molecular clock analysis for the new data set to look for the deep-time diversification of the non-bilaterian in the Precambrian. "I hope we can have more knowledge by the end of this project which will give us more insights into the big question of the non-bilaterians."

Before joining IGNITE, Ksenia obtained a B.Sc degree in life science from The Edmond J. Safra Faculty of Science and Mathematics, the Alexsander Silberman Institute of Life Science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. During her studies she accumulated experience working with the sea anemone species Nnematostella vectensis studying regeneration processes. Ksenia also attended The Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat (IUI) course  “Biology of corals”, which contributed greatly to her affection with the marine invertebrates world. Later on, in her M.Sc she was working with the insect Bemisia tabaci studying the question of positive selection in detoxification genes at the Entomology department of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. "We focused on screening the large P450s family using bioinformatic tools. Here I had my bioinformatic training by the Post-Doctoral Researcher Dr. Diego Santos-Garcia together with the interdepartmental specialization program in Genomics and Bioinformatics at the Faculty of Science (Edmund J. Safra Campus, Givat Ram)."
When it comes to scientific interests, for Ksenia these equal to evolution and phylogeny. Since she became a part of the bioinformatic world, Ksenia can't help it but see how helpful and necessary it is in the different fields of science. Her ambition is to learn and experience new tools in this area. Apart from science, Ksenia likes animals and was a zoo-keeper and volunteer at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory. In her free time she travels around the world and enjoys photographing the surrounding flora and fauna.

Institution: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

ESR Project 1: Phylogenomics of non-bilaterian animals

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