Alicia Calvo-Villamañán, MSc

Institut Pasteur

Alicia Calvo-Villamañán is a PhD student finishing her thesis at the Synthetic Biology Lab at Institut Pasteur. She is currently working on understanding the sequence determinants of CRISPRi targeting in Bacteria. In her research she studies dCas9, a DNA-binding variant of Cas9 that has lost the ability to cut DNA. dCas9 is broadly used to disrupt gene expression, using for that goal small RNA sequences that match the DNA target it binds to, and that the protein uses to direct itself to the right locus. The sequence of the RNA used has an effect on the activity of dCas9, and she is using synthetic biology and machine learning to model the activity of this protein.

She did her BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology, in the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, followed by a MSc in Microbiology in Instituto Superior Técnico. In the past she has worked in synthetic biology, molecular biology and comparative genomics.

Apart from her main scientific activity, she is involved in science communication and vulgarisation. She is the Creative Editor from Native Scientist, and she has illustrated several science communication events for Goethe Institut London, Institut Curie and Institut Pasteur, amongst others.