I am a Senior Lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. I studied Biology in the University of Barcelona, and then took two postdoctoral stages in the University of Nottingham and the Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine in Berlin.
My main research interests are stem cells, their evolution and how they participate in regeneration and asexual reproduction. A few years ago, I developed a hypothesis to explain the similarities between pluripotent stem cells in several organisms across the animal tree of life. To study stem cell evolution, I have focused on planarians as they have a pluripotent stem cell population that allows them to regenerate when cut into pieces.
Teaching and supervision
I lead the postgraduate module "Advances in Medical Genetics". I am also involved in undergraduate Projects and I teach bioinformatics in the undergraduate Module "Biochemistry of Cell Function".
|Elena Emili||Genetic regulation of neural differentiation in the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea by single-cell transcriptomics||Active|
I have introduced novel high-throughput quantitative methods in the planarian field, using a systems biology approach. I participated in the first studies that profiled the planarian stem cell transcriptome by RNA-seq and recently we applied single cell transcriptomics to planarians. With this, we want to study the molecular, genetic and cellular bases of stem cell differentiation in different animal groups from a systems biology approach. Currently, our lab uses single cell methods to study stem cells and regeneration in planarians and other regenerative species.
Centres and institutes
Projects as Principal Investigator, or Lead Academic if project is led by another Institution
- A single-cell multiomic approach in planarians to understand regeneration (01/01/2022 - 31/12/2024), funded by: Medical Research Council (MRC), funding amount received by Brookes: £548,875
- Using planarians and single cell transcriptomics to study cell type evolution (01/09/2021 - 22/05/2025), funded by: Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), funding amount received by Brookes: £665,326
- Studying full length mRNAs at single-cell resolution (01/09/2020 - 31/08/2024), funded by: Biotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), funding amount received by Brookes: £102,356
- A novel mathematical approach to study stem cells in regenerating invertebrates (01/06/2020 - 31/07/2023), funded by: Leverhulme Trust, funding amount received by Brookes: £239,914
- Shaping a stem cell into dozens of cell types (01/04/2019 - 31/03/2023), funded by: Medical Research Council (MRC), funding amount received by Brookes: £478,130
Wolf FA, Hamey FK, Plass M, Solana J, Dahlin JS, Göttgens B, Rajewsky N, Simon L, Theis FJ, 'PAGA: graph abstraction reconciles clustering with trajectory inference through a topology preserving map of single cells'
Genome Biology 20 (2019)
ISSN: 1474-760XAbstract Published here
Schmidt D, Reuter H, Hüttner K, Ruhe L, Rabert F, Seebeck F, Irimia M, Solana J, Bartscherer K, 'The Integrator complex regulates differential snRNA processing and fate of adult stem cells in the highly regenerative planarian Schmidtea mediterranea'
PLoS Genetics 14 (12) (2018)
ISSN: 1553-7390 eISSN: 1553-7404Abstract Published here Open Access on RADAR
Plass M, Solana J, Wolf FA, Ayoub S, Misios A, Glažar P, Obermayer B, Theis FJ, Kocks C, Rajewsky N., 'Cell Type Atlas and Lineage Tree Reconstruction of Whole Adult Animals by Single-Cell Transcriptomics'
Science 360 (6391) (2018)
ISSN: 0036-8075 eISSN: 1095-9203Abstract Published here Open Access on RADAR
Solana J, Irimia M, Ayoub S, Orejuela MR, Zywitza V, Jens M, Tapial J, Ray D, Morris QD, Hughes TR, Blencowe BJ, Rajewsky N, 'Conserved functional antagonism of CELF and MBNL proteins controls stem cell-specific alternative splicing in planarians'
eLife 2016 (5) (2016)
ISSN: 2050-084XAbstract Published here