Graduate Student, The Larracuente & Presgraves Labs
You work in a laboratory. What are you currently researching?
I’m interested in conflict between genes and organisms. First Mendel’s law states that for every gene, an individual’s two alternative alleles are transmitted to the progeny with equal probabilities— that’s fundamental for natural selection to work at the individual level. However, genomes host a plethora of diverse selfish genetic elements; genes that subvert different aspects of organismal reproduction to increment their own transmission. This results in so-called intragenomic conflicts, with profound consequences for the evolution of genome structure and regulation, sex chromosomes, reproductive strategies, and speciation. I am currently exploring aspects of these conflicts in different species of fruit flies.
What was it that originally sparked your interest in biology?
I can think of the most obvious reasons. My dad is a geneticist who did a PhD studying meiosis and chromosomal rearrangements in grasshoppers. That certainly captivated my interest in biology and made me decide to work with grasshoppers and chromosomes as well — which later would bring me to Rochester. I also believe that the places where I lived most of my life influenced my decision. I grew up in Misiones (google it!), a province of Argentina located in the Atlantic rainforest, an astonishing place and hotspot of biodiversity.
What do you enjoy most about working here at the U of R?
I like to be able to interact with colleagues and staff every time I have a question, to organize a journal/book club together, or sometimes even just chat. I always find everyone’s door open in our department; that’s fantastic!
How do you think our biology department stands out in comparison to other universities?
I haven’t been to other universities in the U.S. In my perspective, this place is simply amazing — we have virtually everything we need to do our research. I had to work in places where resources were limiting so being here is like a dream. I am grateful for the opportunity of being at U of R and see it as an incentive — "you have the resources, get to work!”
How do you unwind when you’re not in the lab?
I go to the lab! (Just kidding). I really love being in lab and thinking about science. But when I am not there, I like to ride my bike around the city (the Erie canal is great) and occasionally take walks in the Highland Park area. I also developed a taste for local IPAs; we have really nice breweries in this area.