Berta Verd

Press Department

I am a somewhat unusual breed of biologist. A mathematician by training, I spent a year studying a Masters degree in sociology of science before committing to  in biology during my second Masters degree in Systems and Synthetic Biology at Imperial College, London. There I combined experiments and stochastic models to address the mechanisms underlying bimodal activation in cell populations after induction by NFAT signaling. It soon became very clear to me that interdisciplinary approaches held huge potential to help us understand some of the most central problems in biology, and I have been hooked since.

After my Masters I moved to the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona to pursue a  doctorate degree in evolutionary and developmental systems biology under the supervision of Dr. Johannes Jaeger. During my PhD I used data-driven mathematical modeling to study pattern formation during segment determination in Drosophila and other species of flies. I developed mathematical tools to characterise gene expression dynamics, which allow us to compare these processes between different arthropod species. This has helped us understand how gene regulatory networks drive gene expression dynamics in developmental  processes and shape their evolution.

In October 2017 I joined the Steventon Lab at the University of Cambridge as a Herchel-Smith Postdoctoral Fellow where I am combining experimental and dynamical modeling approaches to understand axial elongation in zebrafish embryos.