Pawel Burkhardt

University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway

Pawel Burkhardt is a group leader at the Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology in Bergen, Norway and studies the evolutionary history of synaptic signalling machineries to better understand the first appearance(s) of synapses and neurons. His group uses a comparative approach and works with choanoflagellates, the closest living relatives of animals, sponges, basal animals with no synapses and neurons, and ctenophores, basal animals with synapses and neurons, as model organisms. Prior to starting his research group "Evolutionary Origin of Synapses and Neurons" at the Sars Centre, he did his PhD at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Germany), his postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley (USA) and worked as a Research Fellow at the Marine Biological Association (UK). He was awarded the Anne Warner endowed Fellowship in 2014 and the Royal Society University Research Fellowship in 2017.

More on Pawel Burkhardt's work can be found here.

Jordi Paps

University of Essex, Exeter, UK

Jordi Paps is an evolutionary biologists based at the University of Bristol (UK). His research combines molecular phylogenetics and comparative genomics to understand major evolutionary transitions. He obtained his PhD in Genetics (University of Barcelona, Spain) working on the molecular phylogeny of the Animal Kingdom, and during his first postdoc he worked on the relationships between animals and their close relatives. In the Department of Zoology (University of Oxford) he performed comparative genomic analyses of all animals to better understand their origin, linking the evolution of genomes and morphology. Now he is applying this approach to other major transitions, like the origin of plants, animal parasites, or the evolution of animals with bilateral symmetry.

More onJordi Paps’ work can be found here.

Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo

Institut de Biologia Evolutiva &  Universitat de Barcelona,  Barcelona, Spain

Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo is an ICREA Research Professor at the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-UPF) in Barcelona. His educational background includes a B.S. in Biology from the University of Barcelona. He earned a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Barcelona in 2002. Funded by grants from EMBO and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, he completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Dalhousie University (Canada). He has also performed short term research projects at the US DOE Joint Genome Institute, the University of Arkansas and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

His current research interests include the study of the molecular mechanisms involved in the origin of multicellular animals, the analysis of genomes of different protists, the study of higher phylogenetic relationships of eukaryotes, and the understanding of the genetic repertoire of the last eukaryotic common ancestor.

More on Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo’s work can be found here.