People

Current Group Members


PI: Niclas Backström

NB3

Please, visit http://www.ieg.uu.se/evolutionary-biology/backstrom/research/ to get more information about current and previous research.

Contact: niclas.backstrom[at]ebc.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 2020 - Professor, Uppsala University
  • 2018 - 2020 Senior Lecturer, Uppsala University
  • 2017 - 2018 Associate Senior Lecturer, Uppsala University
  • 2017 Awarded Title of Docent in Biology with specialization in Evolutionary Genetics, Uppsala University
  • 2014- 2016 Assistant Professor, Uppsala University, Funded by the Swedish Research Council
  • 2012 - 2013 Repatriation research fellow, Uppsala University, Funded by the Swedish Research Council
  • 2009 - 2011 PostDoctoral research fellow, Harvard University, United States, Funded by the Swedish Research Council
  • 2005 - 2009 PhD student, Uppsala University

A full CV version can be downloaded here.


Grad student: Karin Näsvall

Karin Nasvall

Karin is interested in speciation and genome evolution and her projects revolve around the proximate causes underlying regional variation in diversity (recombination and mutation) and the ultimate forces affecting levels of diversity in populations and patterns of differentiation between diverging lineages (gene conversion, drift, selection). Karin uses butterflies as study objects, with particular focus on the wood white (Leptidea sp.) cryptic species complex. Her personal profile web page is found here.

Contact: karin.nasvall[at]ebc.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 201802 - PhD-student at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University.
  • 2014 - 2017 MSc in Ecology and Biodiversity, Stockholm University
  • Before 2014 Active in veterinary medicine.

Publications:

  • Näsvall, K., Boman, J., Talla, V., and Backström, N. 2022. Base composition, codon usage and patterns of gene sequence evolution in butterflies. Genome Biology and Evolution [Revision]
  • Palahí i Torres, A., Höök, L., Näsvall, K., Shipilina, D., Wiklund, C., Vila, R., Pruisscher, P., and Backström, N. 2022. The fine-scale recombination rate variation and associations with genomic features in a butterfly. Genome Research [Revision].
  • Höök, L.*, Näsvall, K.*, Wiklund, C., Vila, R., and Backström, N. 2022. High-density linkage maps and chromosome level genome assemblies unveil direction and frequency of   extensive   structural   rearrangements   in   wood white butterflies (Leptidea sp.). Chromosome Research 31: 2. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10577-023-09713-z * = Equal author contributions.
  • Shipilina, D.*, Näsvall, K.*, Höök, L., Vila, R., Talavera, G., and Backström, N. 2022. Linkage mapping and genome annotation give novel insights into gene family expansions and regional recombination rate variation in the painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly. Genomics 114: 110481. * = Equal author contributions. Biorxiv link: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.04.14.488360
  • Lohse, K., Höök, L., Näsvall, N., Backström, N., Darwin Tree of Life. 2022. The genome sequence of the wood white butterfly, Leptidea sinapis [Linnaeus 1758]. Wellcome Open Research 7: 254.
  • Näsvall, K., Wiklund, C., Mrazek, V., Künstner, A., Talla, V., Busch, H., Vila, R., and Backström, N. 2021. Host plant diet affects growth and induces altered gene expression and microbiome composition in the wood white (Leptidea sinapis) butterfly. Molecular Ecology 30: 499-516.


Grad student: Lars Höök

lars_hook

Lars is a PhD-student exploring the evolution of sex chromosmes, sex determination and dosage compensation in butterflies. Sex determination in Lepidoptera seems to be dependent on presence of W - this is supported by empirical data in the silk moth. However, orthologs for the sex-determining pathway have not been identified in butterflies and Lars' work, which is predominantly focusing on the wood white butterflies (Leptidea sp.) will be important to get detailed understanding of sex-determination, sex-chromosome evolution and dosage compensation in general.

Contact: lars.hook[at]ebc.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 201905 - PhD-student at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University.
  • 2016 - 2018. Msc in Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.
  • 2013 - 2016. BSc in Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Publications:

  • Boman, J., Zhu, Y., Höök, L., Vila, R., Talavera, G., and Backström, N. 2022. Environmental stress during larval development induces head methylome profile shifts in the migratory painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly. Molecular Ecology [In Review]. BioRxiv link: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.11.10.515964v1
  • Palahí i Torres, A., Höök, L., Näsvall, K., Shipilina, D., Wiklund, C., Vila, R., Pruisscher, P., and Backström, N. 2022. The fine-scale recombination rate variation and associations with genomic features in a butterfly. Genome Research [Revision].
  • Höök, L.*, Näsvall, K.*, Wiklund, C., Vila, R., and Backström, N. 2022. High-density linkage maps and chromosome level genome assemblies unveil direction and frequency of   extensive   structural   rearrangements   in   wood white butterflies (Leptidea sp.). Chromosome Research 31: 2. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10577-023-09713-z * = Equal author contributions.
  • Shipilina, D.*, Näsvall, K.*, Höök, L., Vila, R., Talavera, G., and Backström, N. 2022. Linkage mapping and genome annotation give novel insights into gene family expansions and regional recombination rate variation in the painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly. Genomics 114: 110481. * = Equal author contributions. Biorxiv link: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.04.14.488360
  • Lohse, K., Höök, L., Näsvall, N., Backström, N., Darwin Tree of Life. 2022. The genome sequence of the wood white butterfly, Leptidea sinapis [Linnaeus 1758]. Wellcome Open Research 7: 254.
  • Höök, L., Leal, L., Talla, V. and Backström, N. 2019. Multilayered tuning of dosage compensation and Z-chromosome masculinization in the wood white (Leptidea sinapis) butterfly. Genome Biology and Evolution 11: 2633-2652.
  • Janssen, R., Andersson, E., Betnér, E., Bijl, S., Höök, L., Leyhr, J., Mannelqvist, A., Panara, V., Smith, K. and Tiemann, S. 2018. Embryonic expression patterns and phylogenetic analysis of panarthropod sox genes: insight into nervous system development, segmentation and gonadogenesis. BMC Evolutionary Biology 18: 88.


Grad student: Jesper Boman

Jeppe

Jesper Boman is a PhD student that works on divergence and hybridization processes in speciation. Initially, Jesper used allele frequency distributions to investigate the effects GC-biased gene conversion on genetic diversity using Leptidea species as model system. In another project, he uses crosses between distinct karyomorphs of L. sinapis to characterize the genetic basis of F2 hybrid breakdown. Furthermore, Jesper will investigate whether meiotic drive may have driven karyotype evolution in L. sinapis. Jesper is also interested in the role of DNA methylation in speciation and has previously been working with transposable element evolution and genome characterization in birds.

Contact: jesper.boman[at]ebc.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 2020 - PhD-student at the Program of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University.
  • 2017 - 2019. Msc in Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.
  • 2014 - 2017. BSc in Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Publications:

  • Näsvall, K., Boman, J., Talla, V., and Backström, N. 2022. Base composition, codon usage and patterns of gene sequence evolution in butterflies. Genome Biology and Evolution [In Review]
  • Boman, J., Zhu, Y., Höök, L., Vila, R., Talavera, G., and Backström, N. 2022. Environmental stress during larval development induces head methylome profile shifts in the migratory painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly. Molecular Ecology [In Review]. BioRxiv link: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.11.10.515964v1
  • Boman, J., Mugal, C. F., & Backström, N. (2021). The effects of GC-biased gene conversion on patterns of genetic diversity among and across butterfly genomes. Genome Biology and Evolution, 13(5). https://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evab064
  • Boman, J., Frankl-Vilches, C., Santos, M. da S. dos, Oliveira, E. H. C. de, Gahr, M., & Suh, A. (2019). The Genome of Blue-Capped Cordon-Bleu Uncovers Hidden Diversity of LTR Retrotransposons in Zebra Finch. Genes, 10(4), 301. https://doi.org/10.3390/GENES10040301

PostDoc: Daria Shipilina

dasha

Daria is combining population genetics and evolutionary modelling to study evolution of migratory behavior in Vanessa butterflies. In her research she uses various empirical and theoretical approaches to answer wide variety of questions revolving around genomics of speciation and genome evolution. In her past she utilized hybrid zones as a platform to study speciation. In her PhD she pioneered the characterization of a chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) hybrid zone by combining genomic, morphological and acoustic data. In addition she contributed to large-scale biodiversity projects such as European Breeding Bird Atlas 2 (EBBA2). In her postdoc at IST Austria, Dasha studied interplay of contrasting selection forces acting in the genome of the snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus). In a different direction, she also used simulation and demographic inference aiming to enhance current methodology in molecular population genetics.

Contact: daria.shipilina[at]ebc.uu.se; daria.shipilina[at]gmail.com

Short CV:

  • 2020 - PostDoc, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2018 - 2020 - PostDoc, Institute of Science and Technology (IST), Austria.
  • 2011 – 2014 - PhD in Biology, Moscow State University, Russia
  • 2010 - 2011 - Internship, Harvard University, USA
  • 2005 – 2010 - MSc in Vertebrate Zoology, Moscow State University, Russia

Publications:

  • Palahí i Torres, A., Höök, L., Näsvall, K., Shipilina, D., Wiklund, C., Vila, R., Pruisscher, P., and Backström, N. 2022. The fine-scale recombination rate variation and associations with genomic features in a butterfly. Genome Research [Revision].
  • Shipilina, D.*, Näsvall, K.*, Höök, L., Vila, R., Talavera, G., and Backström, N. 2022. Linkage mapping and genome annotation give novel insights into gene family expansions and regional recombination rate variation in the painted lady (Vanessa cardui) butterfly. Genomics 114: 110481. * = Equal author contributions. Biorxiv link: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.04.14.488360
  • Garcia-Berro, A., Talla, V., Vila, R., Wai, H. K., Shipilina, D., Chan, K. G., Pierce, N., Backström, N., and Talavera, G. 2022. Migratory behavior is positively associated with genetic diversity in butterflies. Molecular Ecology 32: 560-574.
    BioRxiv link: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.06.21.496610v1.full
  • Shipilina, D., Stankowski, S., Pal, A., Chan, Y. F., and Barton, N. 2022. On the origin and structure of haplotype blocks. Authorea. February 07, 2022. DOI: 10.22541/au.164425910.09070763/v1
  • Stankowski, S., Shipilina, D. A. and Westram, A.M. 2021. Hybrid Zones. eLS 2021.
  • Shipilina D. A. 2020 Phylloscopus tristis, Siberian Chiffchaff. P. 655 in: Keller, V., Herrando, S., Vorısek, P., Franch, M.,Kipson, M., Milanesi, P., Martı, D., Anton, M., Klvanova, A., Kalyakin, M.V., Bauer, H.-G. & Foppen,R.P.B. 2020. European Breeding Bird Atlas 2: Distribution, Abundance and Change. European Bird Census Council & Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
  • Shipilina D. A., Preobrazhenskaya Ye.S. 2020. Willow Warbler Phylloscopus trochilus. — Atlas of the Breeding Birds of the European part of Russia. Kalyakin M.V., Voltzit O.V. (editors). Moscow, Phiton XXI, PP. 657–659.
  • Shipilina D. A., Preobrazhenskaya Ye.S. 2020. Common Chiffhcaff Phylloscopus collybita. — Atlas of the Breeding Birds of the European part of Russia. Kalyakin M.V., Voltzit O.V. (editors). Moscow, Phiton XXI, PP. 659–662.
  • Shipilina D. A., Preobrazhenskaya Ye.S., Naumkin D.V. 2020. Siberian Chiffhcaff Phylloscopus tristis. — Atlas of the Breeding Birds of the European part of Russia. Kalyakin M.V., Voltzit O.V. (editors). Moscow, Phiton XXI, PP. 662–664.
  • Shipilina D.A., Preobrazhenskaya Ye.S. 2020. Wood Warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix. — Atlas of the Breeding Birds of the European part of Russia. Kalyakin M.V., Voltzit O.V. (editors). Moscow, Phiton XXI, PP. 664–666.
  • Talla, V., Kalsoom, F., Shipilina, D. A., Marova, I., and Backström, N. 2017. Heterogeneous patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation in European and Siberian chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita abietinus / P. tristis). G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 7: 3983-3998.
  • Shipilina, D. A., Serbyn, M., Ivanitskii, V., Marova, I. M., and Backström, N. 2017. Patterns of genetic, phenotypic and acoustic variation across a chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita abietinus/tristis) hybrid zone. Ecology & Evolution 7: 2169–2180.
  • N. Selivanova, Shipilina, D. A., A.Yestafief, I. Marova. 2014. Intrerspecific variability of the chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita, Sylviidae, Aves) in a sympatry zone of Siberian and eastern European forms in the Komi republic (morpholgical, bioacoustical and genetical analysis). Bulletin of Moscow society for nature explorers. Division of biology, 119: 3–16.
  • N. Backström, Shipilina, D. A., M. Blom, S. Edwards. 2013. Cis-regulatory sequence variation and association with Mycoplasma load in natural populations of the house finch (Carpodacus mexicanus). Ecology & Evolution, 2013, 3: 655–666.
  • Marova I. M., Shipilina D. A., Fedorov V. V., Ivanitskii V. V. 2013. Siberian and East European chiffchaffs: geographical distribution, morphological features, vocalization, phenomenon of mixed singing and evidence of hybridization in a sympatry zone. El mosquitero ib´erico. Grupo Iberico de Anillamiento, L´eon, pps. 119–139.
  • Shipilina, D. A., I. Marova. 2013. Habitats, population structure and diversity of the song of the Caucasus chiffchaff (Phylloscopus [sindianus] lorenzii) in Northern Caucasus. Ornitologia, 38: 54–63.
  • I. Marova, V. Fedorov, Shipilina, D. A., V. Alekseev. 2009. Genetic and vocal differentiation in hybrid zones of passerine birds: Siberian and European chiffchaffs (Phylloscopus [collybita] tristis and Ph. [c.] abietinus) in the Southern Urals”, Doklady Biological Sciences. 427: 384–386.
  • I. Marova, V. Fedorov, Shipilina, D. A., V. Alekseev. 2008. Ornithofauna of western slopes of forest covered mountains of Southern Ural. Materials on birds distribution on the Ural mountains, around the Ural region and Western Siberia. pps. 62–69.


Previous Group Members

PostDoc: Peter Pruisscher

peterp
Peter s working as a PostDoc to study recombination rate evolution in the wood white (Leptidea sinapis). He is an evolutionary biologist who enjoys working on NGS data sets to study the evolution of genomes, and the effect of selection on complex phenotypic traits. For his PhD, he used a combination of lab-experiments and genomic tools to study local adaptation of overwintering in butterflies. For his PostDoc in Germany he investigated transposable element evolution in the migratory songbird Sylvia atricapilla.

Contact: peter.pruisscher[at]ebc.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 202009 -                  PostDoc, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 201909 - 202008     PostDoc, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Germany
  • 201312 - 201908     PhD student, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • 201310 - 201311     Research assistant, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • 201109 - 201309     MSc Animal Ecology, Lund University, Sweden

Publications:

  • Palahí i Torres, A., Höök, L., Näsvall, K., Shipilina, D., Wiklund, C., Vila, R., Pruisscher, P., and Backström, N. 2022. The fine-scale recombination rate variation and associations with genomic features in a butterfly. Genome Research [Revision].
  • Pruisscher, P., Lehmann, P., Nylin, S., Gotthard, K., and Wheat, C. W. 2022. Extensive transcriptomic profiling of pupal diapause in a butterfly reveals a dynamic phenotype. Molecular Ecology 31:1269–1280.
  • Pruisscher, P., Nylin, S., Wheat, C. W., and Gotthard, K. 2021. A region of the sex chromosome associated with population differences in diapause induction contains highly divergent alleles at clock genes. Evolution 75 (2), 490-500.
  • Hill, J.*, Rastas, P., Hornett, E. A., Neethiraj, R., Clark, N., Morehouse, N., Celorio- Mancera, M., Carnicer Cols, J., Dircksen, H., Meslin, C., Keehnen, N., Pruisscher, P., Sikkink, K., Vives, M., Vogel, H., Wiklund, C., Woronik, A., Boggs, C.L., Nylin, S., Wheat, C.W. 2019. Unprecedented reorganization of holocentric chromosomes provides insights into the enigma of lepidopteran chromosome evolution. Science advances, 5(6), eaau3648.
  • Lehmann, P.*, Pruisscher, P., Koštál, V., Moos, M., Šimek, P., Nylin, S., Agren, R., Väremo, L., Wiklund, C., Wheat, C.W. and Gotthard, K. 2018. Metabolome dynamics of diapause in the butterfly Pieris napi: distinguishing maintenance, termination and post- diapause phases. Journal of Experimental Biology 221 (2), jeb169508
  • Pruisscher, P.*, Nylin, S., Gotthard, K., & Wheat, C. W. 2018. Genetic variation underlying local adaptation of diapause induction along a cline in a butterfly. Molecular ecology, 27(18), 3613-3626.
  • Pruisscher, P.*, Larsdotter-Mellström, H., Stefanescu, C., Nylin, S., Wheat, C. W., & Gotthard, K. 2017. Sex-linked inheritance of diapause induction in the butterfly Pieris napi. Physiological Entomology, 42(3), 257-265.
  • Lehmann, P.*, Pruisscher, P., Posledovich, D., Carlsson, M., Kakela, R., Tang, P., Nylin, S., Wheat, C.W., Wiklund, C., and Gotthard, K. 2016. Energy and lipid metabolism during direct and diapause development in a pierid butterfly. Journal of Experimental Biology 219: 3049-3060.
  • Stålhandske, S.*, Lehmann, P., Pruisscher, P., and Leimar, O. 2015. Effect of winter cold duration on spring phenology of the orange tip butterfly, Anthocharis cardamines. Ecology and Evolution 5: 5509–5520.

PostDoc: Venkat Talla

Venkat_PD

Venkat Talla was studying population genetics of migration in the painted lady butterflies (Vanessa cardui). During his postdoc at Emory University, he studied the lack of genome wide genetic differentiation between eastern and western monarch populations and used museum samples to understand the genetics of population decline in monarch butterflies. His primary training was in bioinformatics and population genomics. His research interests are genomics, population genetics, conservation genetics and temporal genomics. During his PhD he studied population genetics of wood white butterflies (Leptidea sp.) and hybridization between the common chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) and the Siberian chiffchaff (P. tristis).  

Both the model organisms studied during his postdocs (the monarch butterfly and the painted lady butterfly) undergo the longest seasonal migrations known in any insect species. Venkat was interested in unraveling the genomic basis of long-distance migration and parallel evolution of migratory behavior using these butterfly species as a model system.

Contact: venkat.talla[at]ebc.uu.se; venkat.talla[at]emory.edu

Short CV:

  • 2021 - 2022 PostDoc, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2018 - 2021 PostDoc, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States
  • 2014 - 2018 PhD-student, Uppsala University
  • 2014 - 2014 Visiting student in the Johannesson Lab studying rates of insertions and deletions in Neurospora species.
  • 2013 - 2014 Research assistant at Örebro University, Sweden studying transport in fibroblast cells.
  • 2011 - 2013 Master of Science, SASTRA University, Tamil Nadu, India
  • 2007 - 2011 Bachelor in Technology and Bioinformatics, Vellore Institute of Technology, Tamil Nadu, India
  • Publications:

  • Näsvall, K., Boman, J., Talla, V., and Backström, N. 2022. Base composition, codon usage and patterns of gene sequence evolution in butterflies. Genome Biology and Evolution [In Review]
  • Talla, V., Mrazek, V., Höglund, J., and Backström, N. 2022. Whole genome re-sequencing uncovers significant population structure and low genetic diversity in the endangered clouded apollo (Parnasssius mnemosyne) in Sweden. Conservation Genetics [Accepted]
  • Garcia-Berro, A., Talla, V., Vila, R., Wai, H. K., Shipilina, D., Chan, K. G., Pierce, N., Backström, N., and Talavera, G. 2022. Migratory behavior is positively associated with genetic diversity in butterflies. Molecular Ecology [Accepted]
  • Mrazek, V., Talla, V., Höglund, J., and Backström, N. 2022. En populationsgenomisk undersökning av mnemosynefjäril (Parnassius mnemosyne) i Sverige. Länsstyrelsen i Blekinge Rapport 2022.
  • Tan, W. H., Talla, V., Mongue, A. J., de Roode, J. C, Gerardo, N. M., and Walters, J. R. 2021. Population genomics reveals variable patterns of immune gene evolution in monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). Molecular Ecology [Online Early]
  • Näsvall, K., Wiklund, C., Mrazek, V., Künstner, A., Talla, V., Busch, H., Vila, R., and Backström, N. 2021. Host plant diet affects growth and induces altered gene expression and microbiome composition in the wood white (Leptidea sinapis) butterfly. Molecular Ecology 30: 499-516.
  • Talla, V., Pierce, A. A., Adams, K. L., de Man, T. J. B., Nallu, S., Villablanca, F. X., Kronforst, M. R., and, de Roode, J. C. 2020. Genomic evidence for gene flow between monarchs with divergent migratory phenotypes and flight performance. Molecular Ecology 29: 2567-2582.
  • Höök, L., Leal, L., Talla, V., and Backström, N. 2019. Multilayered tuning of dosage compensation and Z-chromosome masculinization in the wood white (Leptidea sinapis) butterfly. Genome Biology and Evolution 11: 2633-2652.
  • Talla, V., Johansson, A., Dincă, V., Vila, R., Friberg, M., Wiklund, C. and Backström, N. 2019. Lack of gene flow: narrow and dispersed differentiation islands in a triplet of Leptidea species. Molecular Ecology 28: 3756-3770.
  • Talla, V., Soler, L., Kawakami, T., Dincă, V., Vila, R., Friberg, M., Wiklund, C. and Backström, N. 2019. Dissecting the effects of natural selection and mutation on genetic diversity in three recently diverged cryptic butterfly species. Genome Biology and Evolution 11: 2875-2886.
  • Talla, V. 2018. Speciation genetics of recently diverged species. PhD-thesis. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis.
  • Leal, L.*, Talla, V.*, Källman, T., Friberg, M., Wiklund, C., Dincă, V., Vila, R., and Backström, N. 2018. Gene expression profiling across ontogenetic stages in wood white (Leptidea sinapis) reveals pathways linked to butterfly diapause regulation. Molecular Ecology 27: 935-948. * Shared first authorship.
  • Talla, V., Kalsoom, F., Shipilina, D., Marova, I., and Backström, N. 2017. Heterogeneous patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation in European and Siberian chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita abietinus / P. tristis). G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 7: 3983-3998.
  • Talla, V., Suh, A., Kalsoom, F., Dincă, V., Vila, R., Friberg, M., Wiklund, C., and Backström, N. 2017. Rapid increase in genome size as a consequence of transposable element hyperactivity in wood-white (Leptidea) butterflies. Genome Biology and Evolution 9: 2491-2505.


Grad student: Venkat Talla

Venkat did his PhD candidate work in the lab. He was mainly interested in genomics of speciation and how genetic diversity and differentiation is affected by demographic events and molecular forces like drift, selection, mutation and recombination. Venkat was primarily using Leptidea butterflies and chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita) as study objects. Venkat is now a PostDoc at Emory, mainly working with Danaus plexippus genomics in Jaap de Roode's research group.

Contact: venkat.talla[at]emory.edu

Short CV:

  • 201407 - 20181019 PhD-student in the lab.
  • 201402 - 201406 Visiting student in the Johannesson Lab studying rates of insertions and deletions in Neurospora species.
  • 201310 - 201401 Research assistant at Örebro University, Sweden studying transport in fibroblast cells.
  • 201107 - 201305 Master of Science, SASTRA University, Tamil Nadu, India
  • 200707 - 201105 Bachelor in Technology and Bioinformatics, Vellore Institute of Technology, Tamil Nadu, India

Publications:

  • Näsvall, K., Wiklund, C., Mrazek, V., Künstner, A., Talla, V., Busch, H., Vila, R., and Backström, N. 2021. Host plant diet affects growth and induces altered gene expression and microbiome composition in the wood white (Leptidea sinapis) butterfly. Molecular Ecology 30: 499-516.
  • Höök, L., Leal, L., Talla, V., and Backström, N. 2019. Multilayered tuning of dosage compensation and Z-chromosome masculinization in the wood white (Leptidea sinapis) butterfly. Genome Biology and Evolution 11: 2633-2652.
  • Talla, V., Johansson, A., Dincă, V., Vila, R., Friberg, M., Wiklund, C. and Backström, N. 2019. Lack of gene flow: narrow and dispersed differentiation islands in a triplet of Leptidea species. Molecular Ecology 28: 3756-3770.
  • Talla, V., Soler, L., Kawakami, T., Dincă, V., Vila, R., Friberg, M., Wiklund, C. and Backström, N. 2019. Dissecting the effects of natural selection and mutation on genetic diversity in three recently diverged cryptic butterfly species. Genome Biology and Evolution 11: 2875-2886.
  • Leal, L.*, Talla, V.*, Källman, T., Friberg, M., Wiklund, C., Dincă, V., Vila, R., and Backström, N. 2018. Gene expression profiling across ontogenetic stages in wood white (Leptidea sinapis) reveals pathways linked to butterfly diapause regulation. Molecular Ecology 27: 935-948. * Shared first authorship.
  • Talla, V., Kalsoom, F., Shipilina, D., Marova, I., and Backström, N. 2017. Heterogeneous patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation in European and Siberian chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita abietinus / P. tristis). G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 7: 3983-3998.
  • Talla, V., Suh, A., Kalsoom, F., Dincă, V., Vila, R., Friberg, M., Wiklund, C., and Backström, N. 2017. Rapid increase in genome size as a consequence of transposable element hyperactivity in wood-white (Leptidea) butterflies. Genome Biology and Evolution 9: 2491-250

    Visiting PhD-student: Laura Torrado Blanco

    LauraTB

    Laura will visit the group for three months during the fall 2022. She will use bioinformatics / population genomics approaches to investigate how different demographic histories affect genetic diversity and runs of homozygosity using the cryptic wood white (Leptidea juvernica) as a model system. Laura is enrolled in the PhD-education programme at University of A Coruña in Spain where she is focusing on conservation of Chapman's ringlet (Erebia palarica) - a threatened butterfly species endemic to NW Spain.

    Contact: laura.torrado[at]udc.es

    Short CV:

  • 2022 – present Visiting PhD-student at the Evolutionary Biology Program, Uppsala University
  • Short CV:

  • 2022 – present Research training student at the Evolutionary Biology Program, Uppsala University

Master Student: Veronika Mrazek

Veronika_master

Veronika was a master student working on a project investigating the population genetics of the endangered clouded apollo (Parnassius mnemosyne) butterfly. She  used computer modelling and genetic tools to answer questions about the genetic diversity, inbreeding, population differentiation and connectivity of the three populations of clouded apollo in Sweden, and the potential implications for the conservation of this species.

Veronika has previously carried out a ‘placement year’ at the program as part of her bachelor studies, during which she investigated the effect of different host plant utilization on the gut microbiome and gene expression in wood whites (Leptidea sinapis).

Contact: veronika.mrazek.0922[at]student.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 2020 - Master student in Biology at Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2018 - 2019 Placement year at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2016 – 2020 BSc in Biological Sciences, Cardiff University, Wales (UK)
  • Publications:

  • Talla, V., Mrazek, V., Höglund, J., and Backström, N. 2022. Whole genome re-sequencing uncovers significant population structure and low genetic diversity in the endangered clouded apollo (Parnasssius mnemosyne) in Sweden. Conservation Genetics [Accepted]
  • Mrazek, V., Talla, V., Höglund, J., and Backström, N. 2022. En populationsgenomisk undersökning av mnemosynefjäril (Parnassius mnemosyne) i Sverige. Länsstyrelsen i Blekinge Rapport 2022.
  • Näsvall, K., Wiklund, C., Mrazek, V., Künstner, A., Talla, V., Busch, H., Vila, R., and Backström, N. 2020. Host plant diet affects growth and induces altered gene expression and microbiome composition in the wood white (Leptidea sinapis) butterfly. Molecular Ecology 30: 499-516.


Master Student: Xuejing Hu

xuejing2

Xuejing is interested in population genomics and evolutionary conservation genetics. Xuejing worked on 'island effects' in the wood whites, comparing mainland populations with island populations of wood white (Leptidea sinapis) and cryptic wood white (L. juvernica). The aim was to assess if island populations (here England and Ireland, respectively), that presumably have lower population size and limited gene-flow with other populations, tend to accumulate slightly deleterious mutations at a higher rate than larger populations (here mainland Eurasia) with a higher degree of connectivity. The results were important for us to understand the vulnerability of populations with limited distributions and low connectivity and are highly relevant for biodiversity conservation in general.

Contact: xuejing.hu.7095[at]student.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 202009 - 2022 MSc in Biology, Ecology and Conservation, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 201909 - 202006 BSc in Biology/Molecular Biology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
  • 2016 - 2019 BSc in Biological Sciences, Sichuan University, Sichuan, China

  • Publications:

  • Forthcoming


Master Student: Ahmet Melih Öten

Melih was a master student interested in transposable elements (TE) and population genomics. In his degree project, Melih worked specifically with wood white butterflies (Leptidea sinapis). There were two purposes of the project: the first purpose was to characterize and quantify the TE landscape in L. sinapis and to produce a manually curated TE library for this species. The second purpose was to investigate the population dynamics of TEs in this species. He used bioinformatics pipelines to provide both theoretical and practical knowledge about TEs, and their population dynamics in L. sinapis.

Contact: ahmetmelih.oten.2261[at]student.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 2020 – 2022 Master student in Bioinformatics at Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2017 – 2020 BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics, Biruni University, Istanbul/Turkey
  • 2015 – 2020 BSc in Biomedical Engineering, Biruni University, Istanbul/Turkey


Master Student: Orazioluca Paternò

orazi
Orazio was a MEME Master Student interested in the genomics of adaptation, with a particular focus on how complex adaptive traits are underpinned by genetic variation in non-coding regulatory regions of the genome. Orazio worked with butterflies of the Vanessa spp. genus to pinpoint adaptive variants in regulatory regions that might explain the repeated evolution of migratory behaviour in some species of this clade.

Contact: orazio.paterno.97[at]gmail.com; orazioluca.paterno[at]ebc.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 2021 "MSc in Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University, Sweden (MEME)"
  • 2020-2021 "MSc in Evolution, Ecology and Systematics at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany (MEME)"
  • 2019-2020 "MSc in Ecology and Evolution at University of Groningen, Netherlands (MEME)"
  • 2016-2019 "Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences at the University of Turin, Italy"
  • Publications:

  • Forthcoming


Master Student: Aleix Palahí

aleix

Aleix was a Master student interested in speciation and the evolutionary forces that drive it. In particular, he focused on recombination as a key modifier of genetic diversity, and the variation of recombination rate itself. Aleix work with wood white butterflies (Leptidea sinapis) to infer the recombination landscape and try to relate it with the disparate chromosome numbers in different populations.

Contact: aleix.palahi[at]ebc.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 2019 - Now MSc in Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2014 - 2019 BSc in Biology, University of Girona, Spain
  • 2014 - 2019 BSc in Biotechnology, University of Girona, Spain
  • Publications:

  • Forthcoming


Master Student: Jesper Boman

Jesper Boman was a master student that worked on two projects related to genome evolution and speciation in wood whites (Leptidea sinapis). Initially, Jesper used allele frequency distributions to assess the prevalence of GC-biased gene conversion in butterflies in general and in specific karyomorphs in particular. In another project, he used crosses between distinct karyomorphs of L. sinapis to characterize the genetic basis of F2 hybrid breakdown. Jesper has previously been working with transposable element evolution and genome characterization in birds and the relationship between genome size and phenotypic plasticity in seed beetles. He has now moved on to enroll in PhD-studies at the program.

Contact: jesper.boman[at]gmail.com

Short CV:

  • 2017 - 2019. Msc in Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.
  • 2014 - 2017. BSc in Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Publications:

  • Boman, J., Mugal, C., and Backström, N. 2021. The effects of GC-biased gene conversion on patterns of genetic diversity among and across butterfly genomes. Genome Biology and Evolution [In Press].
    BioRxiv link: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.11.10.376566v1
  • Boman, J., Frankl-Vilches, C., da Silva dos Santos, M., de Oliveira, E. H. C., Gahr, M. and 2 Suh, A. 2019 The genome of blue-capped cordon-bleu uncovers hidden diversity of LTR retrotransposons in zebra finch. Genes 10: 301.

Master Student: Yishu Zhu

Yishu's main research project was to characterize methylation profiles across developmental stages in the wood white butterflies.

Contact: Yishu.Zhu.9056[at]student.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 2019 - MSc, Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden

Publications:

  • Forthcoming

Exchange Student: Elenia Parkes

elenia

Elenia was a bachelor student of Biochemistry at Cardiff University, carrying out a ‘Professional Training Year’ at Uppsala University. Her research project investigated how environmental pressures impact the migratory behaviour of painted ladies (Vanessa cardui) by monitoring gene expression variation.

Contact: parkesec@cardiff.ac.uk, elenia.parkes[at]ebc.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 2020 - 2021 Professional Training Year at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2018 – currently studying for BSc in Biochemistry, Cardiff University, Wales (UK)

Publications:

Forthcoming


Bachelor Student: Veronika Mrazek

Veronika was a bachelor student of Biological Sciences at Cardiff University, coming to carry out her ‘Placement Year’ at Uppsala University. She is interested in using genetic tools to answer evolutionary questions and during her research project, she investigated the effect of different host plant utilization on gut microbiome and gene expression in wood whites (Leptidea sinapis).   

Contact: MrazekV[at]cardiff.ac.uk

Short CV:

  • 2018 - 2019 Placement year at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2016 – present BSc in Biological Sciences, Cardiff University, Wales (UK)

Publications:

  • Näsvall, K., Wiklund, C., Mrazek, V., Künstner, A., Talla, V., Busch, H., Vila, R., and Backström, N. 2020. Host plant diet affects growth and induces altered gene expression and microbiome composition in the wood white (Leptidea sinapis) butterfly. Molecular Ecology 30: 499-516.


Master Student: Annemiek Blasweiler

annemiek

Annemiek was a master student in biology with a passion for comparative genomics and population genetics. She has a main interest in the diversification processes of vertebrates and insects. Annemiek used whole genome re-sequencing data to investigate the history of the development of a unique chromosome number cline of the wood white (Leptidea sinapis) across Eurasia, and study positive selection in ecologically distinct populations. Annemiek moved on to enroll in a PhD at Wageningen University.

Contact: annemiekblasweiler[at]outlook.com

Short CV:

  • 2018-2019 Master thesis project at Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.
  • 2016-present MSc in Biodiversity and Evolution, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  • 2013-2016 BSc Biology, Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Publications:

  • Forthcoming


Research Training Project Student: Varvara Paida

varvara_paida

Vana is a research training student that will work on verification of allele frequency shifts associated with F2 hybrid breakdown in karyomorph crosses of wood white butterflies (Leptidea sinapis). She will use PCR and traditional Sanger sequencing on a large sample set and the aim is to identify specific allele combinations that might affect reproductive isolation between populations with distinct karyomorphs

Contact: v.paida97[at]gmail.com


Research training student: Yuhong Li

YuhongLi

Yuhong was interested in learning advanced bioinformatics methods and handling of large data sets. She conducted her research training in the group with focus on identification of recombination tracts using linked read sequences from small pedigrees of Leptidea sinapis populations with distinct karyomorphs. Yuhong previously worked on a critically endangered species, Grauer’s gorilla, using genotyping to analyze the fecal samples of a Grauer’s gorilla social group to infer its member composition.

Short CV:

  • 201904 - Research training student at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University.
  • 2018 - 2019 Bachelor's student at Uppsala University.
  • 2015 - 2018 Bachelor in Life Science, Shandong University, China.

Publications:

  • Forthcoming


Master student: Kristaps Sokolovskis

kristaps

Kristaps studied migratory behavior and genome differentiation between willow warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) populations, co-supervised with Professor Staffan Bensch at Lund University. His Research Gate profile is found here. Kristaps is currently taking on his PhD-studies at Lund University.

Contact: kristaps.sokolovskis[at]gmail.com

Short CV:

  • 2015 - 2016. Msc in Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.
  • 2014 - 2015. Research assistant in Jochen Wolf's lab at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.
  • 2010 - 2014. Bsc in Biology, Daugavpils University, Latvia.

Publications:

  • Sokolovskis K., and Suveizda J. 2012. First record of Phaneroptera falcata (Poda, 1761) (Orthoptera, Phaneropteridae) in Latvia. Latvijas Entomologs 51: 155-157.


Master student: Luis Leal

luis

Luis was attending the Master's program in bioinformatics. He is interested in the use of next generation sequencing technologies to address evolutionary questions, as well as in the development of novel phylogenetic reconstruction methods. In this project (starting January 2017) Luis worked on the assembly, annotation and analysis of the transcriptome of Leptidea sinapis with the aim of identifying key genes and pathways associated to development regulatory mechanisms underlying local adaptation. He now moved on to a PhD in plant genomics with Professor Martin Lascoux at the Department of Ecology and Genetics at Uppsala University.

Contact: luis.leal[at]ebc.uu.se

Publications:

  • Höök, L., Leal, L., Talla, V., and Backström, N. 2019. Multilayered tuning of dosage compensation and Z-chromosome masculinization in the wood white (Leptidea sinapis) butterfly. Genome Biology and Evolution 11: 2633-2652.
  • Leal, L.*, Talla, V.*, Källman, T., Friberg, M., Wiklund, C., Dincă, V., Vila, R., and Backström, N. 2018. Gene expression profiling across ontogenetic stages in wood white (Leptidea sinapis) reveals pathways linked to butterfly diapause regulation. Molecular Ecology 27: 935-948. * Shared first authorship.


Master student: John Burley

JohnBurley

John was a student in the Erasmus Mundus Masters Program in Evolutionary Biology (MEME). His Masters project research, jointly supervised by Scott Edwards at Harvard University, USA, was on the genomics of population divergence in the blue-faced honeyeater (Entomyzon cyanotis), an Australo-Papuan songbird. John is currently doing a PhD at Brown University.
 
Contact: john.burley[at]evobio.eu
 
Short CV:

  • 2015-2016. MSc in Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden; MSc in Evolutionary Biology, University of Montpellier, France.
  • 2014-2015. Ecological consultant at GreenCollar Consulting Solutions, Sydney, Australia
  • 2013. BSc (Honours) in Environmental Science, University of Technology Sydney, Australia
  • 2012. Field Ecology Intern, Australian Wildlife Conservancy
  • 2008-2011. BSc (Advanced) in Biology and Plant Science, University of Sydney, Australia

Publications:

  • Forthcoming

Master student: Axel Söderberg

Axel was interested in applying modelling approaches and use demographic information to understand how selection shapes the allele frequency changes between diverging lineages. In this project Axel used SNPs generated by next generation re-sequencing data from different butterfly populations to study the genetic basis of local adaptation and potential parallelism. The results were important for us to understand how selection can drive differentiation processes in natural populations.

Contact: axel[at]southmountain.se

Short CV:

  • 2015-2017. MSc in Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.
  • 2013-2015. BSc in Biology, Uppsala University

Publications:

  • McFarlane, S. E., Söderberg, A., Wheatcroft, D., and Qvarnström, A. 2016. Song discrimination by nestling collared flycatchers during early development. Biology Letters [In Press]


Master student: Faheema Fida Kalsoom

FaheemaKalsoom

Faheema did her Masters thesis work focusing on speciation genomics in chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita). She used a recently developed de novo assembly of the chiffchaff genome and bioinformatic approaches to study patterns of genetic variation within different subspecies. The aim was to try to identify regions that show evidence for diversifying selection. In addition she was exploring different approaches to annotate the chiffchaff genome.

Faheema was also doing a successful research training project in the lab working on transposable element evolution, speciation and genome rearrangements in Leptidea butterflies. She was mainly focusing on quantification of patterns of diversity and differentiation within and between karyotypic extremes in L. sinapis, a species with considerable chromosome number variation across populations. Faheema is currently a PhD-student at the Department of Organismal Biology at Uppsala University.

Contact: faheema.kalsoom.5034[at]student.uu.se

Short CV:

  • 201605 - 201609 Masters thesis project on chiffchaff speciation.
  • 201602 - 201605 Research training student in the lab.
  • 201409 - 201601 Master Student, Bioinformatics, Uppsala University
  • 201401 - 201408 Research Assistant, Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU), Norway
  • 2009 - 2011 MSc, Sustainable Water Sanitation Health and Development, Pakistan
  • 2005 - 2009 BSc, Bioinformatics, COMSATS University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Publications:

  • Talla, V., Kalsoom, F., Shipilina, D., Marova, I., and Backström, N. 2017. Heterogeneous patterns of genetic diversity and differentiation in European and Siberian chiffchaff (Phylloscopus collybita abietinus / P. tristis). G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 7: 3983-3998.
  • Talla, V., Suh, A., Kalsoom, F., Dincă, V., Vila, R., Friberg, M., Wiklund, C., and Backström, N. 2017. Rapid increase in genome size as a consequence of transposable element hyperactivity in wood-white (Leptidea) butterflies. Genome Biology and Evolution 9: 2491-2505.


Master student: Ye Xiong

ye

Ye Xiong was interested in speciation and evolutionary history. Ye used to study trade-offs and fitness effects in the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) and calls herself 'light green' biologist as she enjoys work in both the field and the lab. Ye worked on a new project where she quantified mutation rate variation in butterfly nuclear and mitochondrial DNA and estimated divergence times between closely related wood-white butterflies. Ye is currently doing a PhD at Lund University.

Contact: elsie.xiongy[at]gmail.com

Short CV:

  • 2015-2017. MSc in Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden.
  • 2013-2014. Research assistant in Lars Gustafsson’s team at Animal Ecology Department, Uppsala University
  • 2010-2013. BSc in Conservation Biology, Mid Sweden University, Sundsvall

Publications:

  • Forthcoming


Exam project student: Paulina Widell

Paulina

Paulina did her Bachelor thesis work on speciation genetics in general. She was working on a literature review on speciation genetics and combined that with bioinformatic methods to gain insight into differentiation processes between closely related butterfly species.

Contact: paulina.widell3[at]gmail.com

Short CV:

  • 201604 - 201610 Bachelor thesis project on speciation genetics.
  • 2013 - 2016 Student, Biology, Uppsala University

Publications:

  • Forthcoming


Visiting student: Xuelai Wang

Xuelai is interested in speciation genetics and ornithology. She was doing a research training project studying genomic differentiation between chiffchaff subspecies in the lab during fall 2015. Xuelai is now investigating the genetic background of evolutionary relevant traits in Ficedula flycatchers at the Department of Animal Ecology, Uppsala University.

Short CV:

  • 201507 - 201511 Visiting student in the lab.
  • 201409 - 201507 MSc in Ecology and Conservation, Uppsala University, Sweden.
  • 2009 - 2014 MSc in Biotechnology at the Fudan University, P.R. China.

Publications:

  • Forthcoming


Visiting student: Keshika Ravichandran

Keshika is interested in patterns of genetic variation in genes potentially underlying genital morphology in butterflies. She was doing a research training project in the lab during the spring of 2015.

Short CV:

  • 201501 - 201507 Visiting student in the lab.
  • 2012 - 2015 Bachelor's degree in Genetic Engineering at the SRM University, Kattankulathur, India.

Publications:

  • Forthcoming


Visiting student: Dou Hu

Dou Hu

Dou was doing a research training project in the lab studying the molecular evolution of candidate genes for genital morphology. Dou is currently doing her PhD-candidate work in Switzerland.

Short CV:

  • 201410 - PhD-student, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 201406 - 201409 Visiting student in Backström Lab at EBC, Uppsala University, Sweden.
  • 201309 - 201406 Master student at the Swedish Agricultural University (SLU) studying among other things the genetic underpinnings of dwarfism in rabbits.
  • 201208 - 201308 Student and Master Student at Wageningen University in The Netherlands working on e.g. cDNA library constructions in domestic pigs.
  • 200809 - 201207 Bachelor in Animal Science at Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang, P.R. China.

Publications:

  • Forthcoming

Main Collaborators

Christer Wiklund, Stockholm University (lab web page)

Roger Vila, Institut de Biologia Evolutiva, Barcelona, Spain (lab web page)

Gerard Talavera, Institut de Biologia Evolutiva, Barcelona, Spain (lab web page)

Last modified: 2023-02-03