Mar Albà

Institut Hospital del Mar d'Investigacions Mèdiques (IMIM)

Life & Medical Sciences

Mar Albà graduated in Biological Sciences at the University of Barcelona (UB), and obtained the PhD at the same University in 1997. During 1997-1999 she studied for the MSc in Bioinformatics and Molecular Modeling at Birkbeck College while working as a postdoctoral researcher in the group of John Hancock at the MRC Clinical Research Centre, in London. Later she joined the group led by Paul Kellam at University College London to develop new computational tools to study herpesvirus evolution and function. She was awarded a Ramón y Cajal tenure track position in 2002 to work at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). In 2005 she was appointed ICREA Research Professor. She has directed 8 doctoral thesis and is author of more than 70 publications.

Research interests

We are interested in understanding the mechanisms of molecular evolutionary innovation operating in genomes. We are intrigued by how novel genes originate and we are using deep RNA sequencing strategies to identify expressed genes in related species and elucidate the processes behind the emergence of new genes. We also investigate the role of repetitive sequences in the expansion of coding sequences and the formation of novel protein domains.

Selected publications

– Faherty SL, Villanueva-Cañas JL, Klopfer PH, Albà MM & Yoder AD 2016, ‘Gene expression profiling in the hibernating primate, Cheirogaleus medius’, Genome Biology and Evolution, 8, 8, 2413 – 2426.

– Abascal F et al. (including Albà MM) 2016, ‘Extreme genomic erosion after recurrent demographic bottlenecks in the highly endangered Iberian lynx’, Genome Biology, 17: 251.

Selected research activities

– Invited to give research seminars at the University of Vienna (April 5 2016) and the University of Copenhagen (August 25 2016).

– Supervison of the Master thesis “Searching new antimicrobial peptides using bioinformatics approaches” by M.Isabel Agea (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, 14 July 2016).