Dr. Alejandro Couce joins the new CBGP Computational Systems Biology and Genomics program (UPM-INIA) with 6 years of postdoctoral experience in France (Paris, INSERM) and the United Kingdom (London, Imperial College). His work combines experimental evolution methods, computer simulations and genomic analysis to understand the processes and mechanisms that are responsible for the evolution of microbes.
Dr Couce is a microbial geneticist focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms that drive microbial evolution, for which he combines experiments, bioinformatics and computer simulation. Major topics he has contributed to include the emergence of antibiotic resistance, the role of mutation bias in shaping bacterial genome evolution, and the search for universal principles governing the repeatability of adaptation.
Dr Couce earned his PhD with Prof Blazquez (CNB-CSIC, Spain), thanks to a FIS Scholarship. His PhD work challenged previous views on the evolution of bacterial hypermutators (Couce, PLoS Genet 2013; Couce, Proceedings B 2015; Couce, Clin Microb Inf 2016). For his post-doc, he joined an ERC project on microbial evolution led by Prof Tenaillon (INSERM, France). An important output from this period is the discovery of mutation biases as a key factor to explain the diversity of genome composition across bacteria (Couce, PNAS 2017; Couce, Nat Comm 2019). Moreover, he produced evidence that universal principles may govern microbial evolution (Couce, Front Genet 2015). In late 2017, he joined Imperial College (UK) with a prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship, to lead a project on the evolutionary flexibility of bacterial transcriptional networks.
Since October 2019 he is a Junior Group Leader at the CBGP (UPM-INIA, Spain), a position secured after an internationally-competitive recruiting process, funded via the Severo Ochoa Award granted to the host institute. In the coming years, he will aim at advancing our understanding of much-discussed basic topics such as the trade-offs between fitness and virulence, the optimality of decision-making in regulatory networks or the reproducibility of evolution. By joining the CBGP, Dr Couce seeks to establish collaborations to apply evolutionary thinking to combat plant pathogens, improve plant-microbe beneficial interactions or thwart the evolution of antibiotic resistance in the wild.
Welcome Alejandro to the CBGP!
About Dr Couce Research Publications
About the CBGP (UPM-INIA)
The mission of the CBGP (UPM-INIA) is to carry out fundamental and strategic research in plant science and in microorganisms interacting with plants. The research is focused on understanding important biological processes such as plant development, the interaction of plants with the environment and the mechanisms of plant nutrition. Additionally, CBGP is interested in developing and using computational biology tools to achieve its goals. The acquired knowledge is used to tackle major problems of agriculture and forestry, and to develop novel technological solutions. CBGP (UPM-INIA) has also an educational role and is a reference center for training scientists and Master's and Bachelor-level students in plant biotechnology and genomics. CBGP (UPM-INIA) has been recognized by the Spanish Research Agency as Centre of Excellence Severo Ochoa, the highest institutional recognition of scientific research excellence in Spain CBGP (UPM-INIA).
About CsBGP program
In the frame of the SO-CBGP strategic Plan, a novel Computational-Systems Biology and Genomics Programe has been launched, which will enhance the implementation of computational/genomics tools and novel research lines.
The mission statement of this program is to revolutionize plant and agricultural research by applying systems-level, multi-scale, information-driven and model-driven approaches to improving plant growth, enhancing productivity, and preventing disease.