Principal Investigators


Dr. Andrés Moya Simarro
I studied simultaneously Biology and Philosophy at the Universitat de València (Spain), obtaining a Ph.D. in Biology in 1983, and a Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1988, with honours, at the same University. From 1985 to 1986 I stayed as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California-Davis (USA), and I have been invited Professor at the University of California-Irvine (USA) in 1988 and 1994. In 1986 I created the Evolutionary Genetics Research Group at the Department of Genetics of the Universitat de València, where I am Professor of Genetics since 1993, and nominated as a Director from 1995 to 1998. I was the promoter of the foundation of the Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva at the Universitat de València. I also promoted the creation of the "Centro de Astrobiología (CSIC-INTA)", and the "Centro Superior de Investigación en Salud Pública (CSISP)" where I lead the Genomics and Health Area.
I am author of about four hundred publications, including original articles, reviews, book chapters and books about Genetics, Evolution and Philosophy of Biology. My most significant contributions are in the fields of experimental and genome evolution. Recently, I am involved in the study of the Human Microbiome under an evolutionary and systems biology perspective. I have been the supervisor of twenty PhD theses and formed a high number of Spanish and foreign scientists. All my research has been developed with the financial support of Grants from Autonomic, National and European Union institutions to various research projects, as well as several contracts with public and private institutions.
I have given conferences and courses in several European countries, South America, United States and Asia. I am a member of several Commissions in the corresponding National Scientific Evaluation Agencies in Spain, several European and South American countries, and the European Union.
I am a member of several international Scientific Societies and of the editorial board of several scientific journals. I received the "Ciutat de Barcelona" award to Scientific Research in 1996, and "Diario Médico" award in 2006. I am a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science since 1998.


Dr. Amparo Latorre
I studied Biology at the University of Valencia and obtained my PhD in Biology working in the Genetics Department with Dr. Rosa de Frutos Ilán. During 1984-1985 I did a postdoc in the University of California (Davis) with Prof. Francisco J. Ayala working on mitochondrial DNA evolution. I have been visiting professor at the University of California (Irvine) in 1989 and in 1994, working on molecular evolution of insects. I am Professor of Genetics of the University of Valencia and I have been Vice Dean of the Faculty of Biology from 1993 to 1997. Currently, I am the head of the Cavanilles Institute on Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia.
On returning from my postdoctoral stay in the USA, in 1986, I set up the Evolutionary Genetics group within the Department of Genetics, University of Valencia together with Dr. Andrés Moya. I was involved in promoting the Cavanilles Institute. I have lectured both in the Biology and Biochemistry degree courses and in PhD programs at the University of Valencia (Genetics, Molecular Genetics, Genetic Engineering, Genetic Analysis Techniques and Comparative Genomics) and I have given conferences and courses in several European and American countries, as well as in Japan and China.
I have published more than one hundred papers, the most outstanding being those published in journals like Science and Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, as well as high impact reviews in my area of specialization. I have directed ten Doctoral theses on Genetics, Genomics and Molecular Evolution. My main research area of interest is molecular evolution and genomics of bacteria that live in symbiosis with insects. Recently I started a new research program in metagenomics of the human gut.


Dr. M. Pilar Francino
    I studied Biology at the NationalUniversityof Mexico (UNAM), where I worked with Antonio Lazcano in the field of early life evolution. I then pursued graduate studies in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Program of the University of Rochester (New York), working with Howard Ochman on analyses of rates and patterns of DNA sequence evolution in bacteria and primates. After obtaining my PhD in 1999, I conducted postdoctoral research in bacterial genetics as an EMBO Fellow at the Necker Institute of the University of Paris, in the laboratory of Miroslav Radman. In 2001, I moved to California to work as a Research Scientist at the Joint Genome Institute of the U. S. Department of Energy, and became Head of the Evolutionary Genomics Program of the JGI in 2007. I came to Valencia in 2009, to join the CSISP Area of Genomics and Health as a senior scientist. My research group works on the development of the gastrointestinal microbiome in infants, with the aims of understanding the basic population and community dynamics of this community, as well as different aspects of its interaction with the host and its impact on health. To these aims, we develop and apply different metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches, the outcome of which is analyzed within a functional, ecological and evolutionary framework. I am also broadly interested in understanding the forces that shape the structure, organization and evolution of genomes. In previous and current work, I have addressed genome and molecular evolution subjects at different scales, ranging from the impact of mutational biases during DNA sequence evolution, to the evolution of new genes and their regulatory regions and the coevolution of different genomic traits.


Dr. Giuseppe D'Auria
I am interested in studying microbial ecology of human-related environments such as the gut microbiome.
I obtained my degree in biology at the University of Messina, Italy, working on the generation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa mutants in stress and/or starvation conditions. In 2004 I obtained my PhD studying the microbial diversity of deep anoxic hypersaline basins (DHABs) of the Mediterranean Sea, in the framework of the European Project (FP5): BIODEEP - BIOtechnologies form the DEEP (BIODEEP) at the National Research Council (CNR - Isituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero - Messina, Italy). After this period I moved to the lab of Prof. Francisco Rodriguez Valera at Miguel Hernandez University (Alicante, Spain) improving my skills in bioinformatics and microbial ecology. In 2007 I moved to Cavanilles Institute for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology of Valencia University in the laboratory of Evolutionary Genetics headed by Prof. Andrés Moya. Here I was involved in the sequencing of the genome of Legionella pneumophila strain Alcoy and in other works such as the study of microbial diversity of Tablas the Daimiel National Park. Now I am here at CSISP working in microbial ecology and genetics, developing a research line in Flow Cytometry and Single Cell Genomics. I am currently interested in studying the human gut microbiota, fractioning populations by fluorescent activated cell sorting (FACS) with a special attention on Clostridium difficile associated colitis.
Personal advise: never stop studying and learning. There are too much data out there!












I did a postdoctoral stay in the Biochemistry Department of Cambridge University (UK) working in sugar transport in bacteria. On returning from my postdoc, my research was focused on the fields of bacterial molecular microbiology, genomics and transcriptomics. I worked on lactic acid bacteria in the frame of food-grade strains and probiotic improvement. Nowadays, my research group works on health disorders related to altered gastrointestinal microbiota composition applying metagenomics and metatranscriptomics analyses. We have addressed metagenomics and metatranscriptomics of the microbiota from Clostridium difficile-associated colitis patients. I am also interested in understanding the global response of the intestinal microbiota at both structural and functional levels after an antibiotic therapy or nutritional intervention (prebiotics or probiotics). At present, I am involved in a clinical study to evaluate through metagenomic analysis the response of the intestinal bacterial community of HIV-infected patients following a nutritional intervention with prebiotics. Also, I collaborate with Lerida University (Food Technology Department) to evaluate the effect of pomegranate juice on the intestinal microbiota, and hence on health. Another aim of the current work is understanding antibiotic resistance and its transfer in the gut microbiota because it is a great problem in public health. In our research we use bioinformatics analytical tools to cope with the high number of sequences provided by next generation sequencing technologies.