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Dr Andre Pires da Silva

Job Title
Associate Professor
Department
Life Sciences
Phone
024 765 73329
Web Link
Research Interests

Our long term goal is to use an integrated approach, combining developmental genetics, cell biology, genomics and mathematical modeling to understand how organisms evolve to changes in the environment. Our main model system is the nematode, which offer many advantages for this integrative approach. We have been studying some non-Caenorhabditis nematode species that have many features not present in C. elegans, but that are useful as models for fundamental biological phenomena:

  • Developmental basis for aging: We are studying a species of nematode that produces genetically identical genders with distinct lifespans; this model allows intra-specific comparisons in which no genetic or environmental confounding effects are present. The nematode can be used to model more complex organisms that include humans because recent work revealed that genes modulating aging are highly conserved in evolution.
  • Cross-generational inheritance: Epigenetic inheritance across generations is relatively widespread in living organisms. However, in many cases it is unclear how stimuli experienced by one generation is passed to following generations. We are studying a species of nematode in which the gender of the progeny depends on environmental cues experienced by the mother. We are studying the mechanisms of this mode of inheritance.
  • Asymmetric cell division: Some of the cellular diversity during development is generated by asymmetric cell divisions. We are using a nematode model in which two kinds of sperm are generated by an asymmetric cell division (Shakes et al, 2011). Because the progeny of each kind of sperm is easily identifiable, we are using this nematode to find the cellular and genetic basis of asymmetric cell division.
Biography

1994 -1999- Ph.D. in Developmental Biology, Universitat Gottingen and Max Planck Institute
for biophysical Chemistry, Gottingen, Germany
1993-1994 Diploma in Biology, Universitat Heidelberg and European Molecular Biology
Laboratories, Heidelberg, Germany.
1988-1992 Bachelor's degree in Biology, Universidade de Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil.

Member, Society for the Study of Evolution
Member, European Society for Evolutionary Developmental Biology
Member, Genetics Society of America
Member, Society for Developmental Biology

Title Funder Award start Award end
An intrinsic polarising signal for asymmetric cell divisions Leverhulme Trust 01 Apr 2020 31 Mar 2024
Gamete-mediated transmission of parental experience Leverhulme Trust 01 Sep 2016 31 Aug 2019
Overactivity in growth and its effects on rates of ageing BBSRC 01 Jul 2014 30 Jun 2017