Daniela Tejada Martinez
Daniela’s primary research interests lie at the intersection of evolutionary biology and medicine. Her research endeavors have focused on the molecular bases of phenotypic diversity, particularly in the context of longevity and disease resistance across species. She has been exploring the genetic underpinnings behind the evolution of species resistance to aging related diseases, like cancer. Given the prevalence of cancer in multicellular organisms, Daniela’s work has explored the intriguing relationship between body size, longevity, and cancer risk. Her investigations have shed light on the mechanisms through which long-lived species, such as whales, have evolved to combat cancer. On a molecular level, Daniela has focused on tumor suppressor genes and senescence-related genes, key players in various biological processes such as immunity, metabolism and DNA damage repair. Daniela’s work provides novel insights into the genetic mechanisms of disease resistance in species with extended lifespans and large body sizes.
Daniela’s current research applies comparative genomics and evolutionary biology to explore fundamental questions about human evolution and population history. She employs a diverse set of methods, including computational biology, to understand past demographic events, detect selection signals across populations, and unravel the genetic basis of human adaptation. Furthermore, she has been investigating the genetic imprints left by archaic hominins like Neanderthals and Denisovans in the genomes of modern humans.
Daniela completed her PhD at the Universidad Austral de Chile, under the supervision of Prof. Juan C. Opazo. From 2018 to 2021, Daniela was a Research Assistant as part of the Integrative Genomics of Ageing Group at the University of Liverpool, working under the guidance of Prof. João Pedro de Magalhaes. After graduating from her PhD in 2020, Daniela joined the laboratory of Prof. Marco Trizzino at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia-PA, as a Postdoctoral Researcher. Since 2022, Daniela has been continuing her research as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Human Evolutionary Genomics Laboratory of Yale University led by Prof. Serena Tucci.