Origin, evolution and roles of cardinal genomic features underpinning animal multicellular complexity (2012–2018)
Our view on animal evolution and complexity has been radically changed with the sequencing of the Amphimedon queenslandica (sea sponge) genome. This genome project has dissolved the inveterate divide between complex (eg humans) and simple (eg sponges) animals by revealing a shared, core metazoan genome. I aim to decipher the role of this deeply conserved genome in animal multicellularity by first analysing the molecular mechanisms controlling cell decisions in Amphimedon and then comparing these results to human and other knowledge bases (eg ENCODE). This approach allows me to define the
fundamental genomic rules that govern the structure and function of animal cells and tissues, in all normal and dysfunctional (eg cancer) contexts.