Isaac Salazar-Ciudad: Synthetic Evolutionary Biology

Our group is focused on the study of Evolution. We are mostly interested in the evolution of complex phenotypes and development. We focus mostly on morphology but we also study other phenotypic levels (even beyond biology). Our approach considers that both natural selection and variation determine the direction of evolutionary change.

Variation is, however, neither totally random (it is only random in respect to its adaptive value) nor equally possible in all phenotypic directions. The directions of possible variation are determined by the process of development in which genetic and environmental variation gives rise to specific phenotypic variation. Thus, to understand the direction of evolutionary change one needs to understand something about developmental dynamics and its variation. That "something" is mostly pattern formation and morphogenesis. 

Our main questions are:

  • Which kind of phenotypic variation is possible in the different modes of development existing in animals. 
  • How does this affect morphological evolution
  • How does development evolve

To address these questions we use computational models of pattern formation and evolution in specific organs (teeth, wings, turtle carapaces) but also general models of animal development.

Read more about Isaac's and his group's research:

Isaac is a Principal Investigator/visiting scholar at BI and Principal Investigator at Universitat de Autònoma Barcelona, Spain. 


Isaac Salazar-Ciudad, PhD, Docent
Institute of Biotechnology, HiLIFE

Biocenter 2, room 5009
P.O. Box 56 (Viikinkaari 5D)
00014 University of Helsinki

Office: +358-2941 59352