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Léa Soler-Clavel 

MScR Project: Comparative genomics study of Mobulid rays using a novel Mobula hypostoma reference genome

Supervised by: Prof. Dan Macqueen, Dr Emily Humble and Dr Manu Gundappa

Postgraduate research

My MScR project involves the analysis of a newly-assembled and annotated reference genome for Mobula hypostoma (Lesser devil ray) using multiple bioinformatics tools, as groundwork to support future conservation genomics studies. During this project, I will explore homology relationships and gene family expansions/losses by comparing this genome to available Chondrichtyan genome sequences, and estimate a divergence time for genus Mobula. My aim is to improve the understanding of the evolutionary and adaptative history of this genus, and through this work, I hope to identify lineage-specific traits to better inform conservation. This work is led by Emily Humble in collaboration with Kim Bassos-Hull and Atlantine Boggio-Pasqua from MOTE Marine Laboratory, and Lisa Hoopes at the Georgia Aquarium.


Biography and previous work

I completed my integrated Masters (MSci) in Marine Biology at the University of Southampton in 2020. Already fascinated by genetics, I developed an interest for marine molecular biology and genomics/transcriptomics; this led me to investigate the expression of metabolic genes in ammonia oxidising microorganisms in the mesopelagic Atlantic Ocean as a response to environmental variables for my MSci research project.
After graduating, I worked as a prepublication assistant editor for F1000 and was involved in scaling the editorial process of the Darwin Tree of Life genome sequence reports, collaborating with Wellcome Sanger Institute stakeholders.
Outside of marine research, I'm a swimmer, amateur windsurfer and fiction writer. 

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