Antonio Giraldez designated the Wallace Professor of Genetics

Photo of professor Antonio Giraldez.
Antonio J. Giraldez

Antonio J. Giraldez, newly named as the Fergus F. Wallace Professor of Genetics, investigates the regulatory codes that shape gene expression during embryonic development.

In his  lab, Giraldez combines genomics, genetics, and computational biology to address a central question in biology: how does a fertilized egg develop into a complex multicellular embryo? This process requires a precise spatial and temporal regulation of gene expression. He is primarily focused on understanding the mechanisms that activate the genome soon after fertilization and how this universal transition drives post-transcriptional regulation of the maternal instructions to allow one of the central developmental transitions to occur. His research focuses on four main areas: analysis of genome activation, mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation, computational modeling of gene expression, and animal models to understand autism.

Giraldez has uncovered conserved principles in gene regulation and how they shape embryonic development, including the identification of a novel miRNA family (miR-430) that regulates the maternal to zygotic transition, novel regulatory codes in the coding sequence that shape mRNA stability and protein output, and the identification of stem cell factors as key activators of the embryonic genome after fertilization. This work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed research articles in Nature, Science, EMBO, and Nature Genetics, among other journals. Together these discoveries are helping unravel the regulatory codes that the embryo uses to interpret genetic information and regulate development.

Giraldez studied chemistry and molecular biology at the University of Cadiz and the University Autonoma of Madrid. He earned his Ph.D. from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (Heidelberg), and conducted postdoctoral research at the Skirball Institute at New York University and at Harvard University. Giraldez established his laboratory at Yale in 2007. Prior to his new appointment, he was a professor of genetics. He has served as director of graduate studies at the Department of Genetics, and is currently chair of the department.

The Yale professor has been named HHMI Faculty Scholar by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Pew Scholar in Biomedical Sciences by the Pew Foundation. Among other honors he has been awarded the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Biomedical Science from the Vilcek Foundation and the John Kendrew Award from the European Molecular Biology Laboratories.

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