Elena Gómez-Díaz, PhD

Ramon y Cajal Researcher
Department of Wetland Ecology
Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC)
Américo vespucio s/n
41092 Sevilla, Spain  

Research outline 

My general interests concern the evolutionary biology of host-parasite interactions. My past research has mainly focused on the coevolution and adaptation of parasitic organisms. Most of my empirical work has been carried out in seabird-ectoparasite systems. During the last years, I have become more interested in vector-borne systems where I have examined the consequences of host-vector-pathogen adaptation cascades for the epidemiology and emergence of infectious diseases, including pathogens of important medical and economic concern such as Borrelia bacteria, flavivirus and malaria agents circulating in wildlife populations. My research activity includes a combination of molecular and ecological approaches, lab work and field work, all within a evolutionary biology framework. Recently, I started as a Ramon y Cajal principal investigator at Doñana Biological Station (CSIC). My current research line focuses onto the importance and role of epigenetic mechanisms in host-parasite interactions, and in particular on malaria parasites (Plasmodium spp.) and their mosquito vectors.

Research positions
  • 2015-present. Ramon Y Cajal Researcher. Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC), Sevilla, Spain.
  • 2013- present. Postdoc. Department of Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, United States.
  • 2011-2013. Senior Postdoc (Juan de la Cierva). Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2010-2011. Return Postdoc (Beatriu de Pinós). Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (CSIC-Universitat Pompeu Fabra), Barcelona, Spain.
  • 2008-2010. Marie Curie Postdoc. Génétique et Évolution des Maladies Infectieuses (IRD-CNRS), Montpellier, France.
  • 2007-2008. ANR Postdoc. Génétique et Évolution des Maladies Infectieuses (IRD-CNRS), Montpellier, France.
  • 2007. Research assistant. Institut de Medicina Predictiva i Personalitzada del Càncer, Generalitat de Catalunya, Badalona, Spain.
Grants and Awards
  • 2015-2019. Ramon y Cajal Research Grant. Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.
  • 2012. Research accreditation by the AQU Catalunya Research Assessment Commission.
  • 2011-­2014. Marie Curie European Re-­Integration Grant (ERG-­FP7-­PEOPLE). European Commission.
  • 2011-­2014. Juan de la Cierva Research Grant. Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation.
  • 2010-­2011. Beatriu de Pinós Fellowship. Catalonian government.
  • 2008-­2010. Marie Curie Intra-­European Fellowships (IEF-­FP7-­PEOPLE), European Commission
  • 2003-­2006. FI PhD fellowship. Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.
Publications included in the SCI

36. Garcia-Porta J., Morales H.E., Gómez-Díaz E., Sindaco R. &  S. Carranza S. (2016) Patterns of diversification in islands: a comparative study across three gecko genera in the Socotra Archipelago. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, accepted.

35. Stefan L., Gómez-Díaz E., Elguero E., Proctor H., McCoy K. & González-Solís J. (2015) Niche Partitioning of Feather Mites within a Seabird Host, Calonectris borealis. PLoS ONE 10(12): e0144728. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0144728 (htlm)

34. O. Duron, V. Noël, K. D. McCoy, M. Bonazzi, K. Sidi-Boumedine, O. Morel, F. Vavre, L. Zenner, E. Jourdain, P. Durand, C. Arnathau, F. Renaud, J.-F. Trape, A. S. Biguezoton, J. Cremaschi, M. Dietrich, E. Léger, A. Appelgren, M. Dupraz, E. Gómez-Díaz, G. Diatta, G.-K. Dayo, H. Adakal, S. Zoungrana, L. Vial & C. Chevillon (2015) The recent evolution of a maternally-inherited endosymbiont of ticks led to the emergence of the Q fever pathogen, Coxiella burnetii. Plos Pathogens,11(5): e1004892. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004892 (htlm).

33. Militão T., Gómez-Díaz E., Kaliontzopoulou A., González-Solís J. (2014) Comparing Multiple Criteria for Species Identification in Two Recently Diverged Seabirds. PLoS ONE 9(12): e115650. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0115650 (htlm)

32. Gómez-Díaz E. & Corces V.G. (2014). Architectural proteins: Regulators of 3D genome organization in cell fate. Trends in Cell Biology, 24(11): 703–711 (htlm)
** Review chosen among the "Top 10 Editorial Board Favorites for 2014" by Trends in Cell Biology.

31. Gómez-Díaz E., Rivero A., Chandre F. & Corces V.G. (2014). Insights into the epigenomic landscape of the human malaria vector Anopheles gambiae. Frontiers in Genetics 5:277. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2014.00277 (htlm)

30. Maia J.P., Harris D.J., Carranza S. & Gómez-Díaz E. (2014). A comparison of multiple methods for estimating parasitemia of Hemogregarine hemoparasites (Apicomplexa: Adeleorina) and its application for studying infection in natural populations. PLoS ONE 9(4): e95010. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095010 (htlm).

29. Arnal A.*, Gómez-Díaz E.*, Cerdà-Cuéllar M., Lecollinet S., Pearce-Duvet J., Busquets N., García-Bocanegra I., Pagès N., Vittecoq M., Hammouda A., Samraoui B., Garnier R., Ramos R., Selmi S., González-Solís J., Jourdain E. & Boulinier T. (2014). Circulation of a Meaban-like virus in yellow-legged gulls and seabird ticks in the western Mediterranean Basin. PLoS ONE 9(3): e89601 (*Authors contributed equally to this work) (htlm).

28. Stefan L., Gómez-Díaz E. & Mironov S. (2013). Three new species of the feather mite subfamily Ingrassiinae (Acari: Xolalgidae) from petrels (Procellariiformes: Procellariidae). Zootaxa, 3682 (1): 105–120 (pdf)

27. Ramírez O.*, Gómez-Díaz E.*, Olalde I., Illera J.C., Rando J.C., González-Solís J., Lalueza-Fox C. (2013). Population connectivity buffers genetic diversity loss in a seabird. Frontiers in Zoology, 10: 28 (*Authors contributed equally to this work) (pdf)

26. Gómez-Díaz E., Jordà M., Peinado M.A. & Rivero A. (2012). Epigenetics of host-pathogen interactions: the road ahead and the road behind. Plos Pathogens, 8 (11): e1003007 (Featured review) (htlm)

25. Maia J., Gómez-Díaz E. & Harris J. (2012). Apicomplexa primers amplify Proteromonas (Stramenopiles, Slopalinida, Proteromonadidae) in tissue and blood samples from lizards. Acta parasitologica, 57: 337-341.

24. Stekolnikov A., Carranza S. & Gómez-Díaz E. (2012). A new genus and species of Apoloniinae (Acari: Trombiculidae) from Oman. Zootaxa 3499: 74–80 (pdf)

23. Gómez-Díaz E., Sindaco R., Pupin F., Fasola M. & Carranza S. (2012). Origin and in situ diversification in Hemidactylus geckos of the Socotra Archipelago. Molecular Ecology, 21: 4074-4092 (pdf)

22. Gómez-Díaz E., Morris-Pocock J., González-Solís J. & McCoy K.D. (2012). Trans-oceanic host dispersal explains high seabird tick diversity on Cape Verde islands. Biology Letters, 23: 616-619 (pdf)
**See Dispatch in Frontiers in Ecology and Environment "Parasites hitch a ride on seabirds", 2012 10: 229 (pdf)
**See Science Daily research highlight "Seabirds, a Key Factor in the Dispersal of Parasites", 2012 (html)

21. Dietrich M., Kempf F., Gómez-Díaz E., Kitaysky A.S., Hipfner J.M., Boulinier T., & McCoy K.D. (2012). Inter-oceanic variation in patterns of  host-associated divergence in a seabird ectoparasite. Journal of Biogeography, 39: 545-555 (pdf)

20. Noel V., Leger E., Gómez-Díaz E., Risterucci A.-M. & McCoy K.D (2012). Isolation and characterization of new polymorphic microsatellite markers for the tick Ixodes ricinus (Acari, Ixodidae). Acarologia, 52: 123-128 (pdf)
19. Lobato E., Pearce-Duvet J., Staszewski V., Gómez-Díaz E., González-Solís J., Kitaysky A., McCoy K.D., & Boulinier T. (2011). Seabirds and the circulation of Lyme borreliosis bacteria in the North Pacific. Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 11: 1521-1527 (pdf)

18. Gómez-Díaz E., Boulinier T., Sertour N., Cornet M., Ferquel E., & McCoy D. K. (2011). Genetic structure of marine Borrelia garinii and population admixture with the terrestrial cycle of Lyme borreliosis. Environmental Microbiology, 13 (9): 2453–2467 (pdf)

17. Roscales J.L., Gómez-Díaz E., Neves V. & González-Solís J. (2011). Trophic versus geographic structure in stable isotope signatures of pelagic seabirds breeding in the northeast Atlantic. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 434: 1-13 (Featured article) (pdf)

16. Dietrich M., Gómez-Díaz E. & McCoy K.D (2011). Worldwide distribution and diversity of seabird ticks: Implications for the ecology and epidemiology of tick-borne pathogens. Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases, 11: 453-470 (pdf)

15. Gómez-Díaz E. & Figuerola J. (2010). New perspectives in tracing vector-borne interaction networks. Trends in Parasitology, 26: 470–476 (pdf)

14. Gómez-Díaz E. & González-Solís J. (2010). Trophic structure in a seabird host-parasite food web: insights from stable isotope analyses. Plos One, 5: e10454 (html)
**See Science Daily research highlight "Seabirds and Parasites: Understanding a Long Evolutionary History to Protect Biodiversity", 2010 (html)

13. Gómez-Díaz E., Doherty P.F., Duneau D. & McCoy K.D (2010). Cryptic vector divergence masks vector-specific patterns of infection: an example from the marine cycle of Lyme borreliosis. Evolutionary Applications 3: 391–401 (Featured article and cover photograph) (pdf)

12. Gómez-Díaz E. (2009) Linking questions to practices in the study of microbial pathogens: sampling bias and typing methods. Infection, Genetics and Evolution, 9: 1418–1423 (pdf)

11. Gómez-Díaz E., González-Solís J. & Peinado, M.A. (2009). Population structure in a highly pelagic seabird, the Cory’s shearwater (Calonectris diomedea): an examination of genetics, morphology and ecology. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 382: 197–209 (pdf)

10. Zhengxin S., Gómez-Díaz E., Bailie A., and Friesen V.L. (2009) Isolation and characterization of microsatellite loci for storm-petrels. Molecular Ecology Resources 9: 913-915 (pdf)

9. Ramos R., González-Solís J., Forero M., Moreno R., Gómez-Díaz E., Ruiz X. & Hobson K. (2009) The influence of breeding colony and sex on mercury, selenium and lead levels and carbon and nitrogen stable isotope signatures in summer and winter feathers of Calonectris shearwaters. Oecologia 159: 345–354 (pdf)

8. Bolton M., Smith A.L., Gómez-Díaz E., Friesen V.L., Medeiros R., Bried J., Roscales J.L. & Furness RW (2008) Monteiro’s Storm petrel Oceanodroma monteiroi: A new species from the Azores. Ibis, 150: 717–727 (pdf)

7. Gómez-Díaz E., Navarro J. & González-Solís J. (2008) Ectoparasite community structure in three closely related seabird hosts: a multiscale approach combining ecological and genetic data. Ecography, 31: 477-489 (pdf)

6. Duneau D., Boulinier T., Gómez-Díaz E., Petersen A., Tveraa T., Barrett R. & McCoy, K.D. (2008) Prevalence and diversity of Lyme borreliosis bacteria in marine birds. Infection, Genetic and Evolution, 8: 352–359 (pdf)

5. Gómez-Díaz E., González-Solís J., Peinado M.A. & Page R.D.M. (2007) Lack of host- dependent genetic structure in ectoparasites of Calonectris shearwaters. Molecular Ecology, 16: 5204-5215 (pdf)

4. Friesen V.L., Smith A.L., Gómez-Díaz E., Bolton M., González-Solís J., Furness R.W. & Monteiro L. (2007) Sympatric speciation by separation of breeding season in a seabird. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 20: 18589-18594 (pdf)
*See Science Daily research highlight "'Time-Sharing' Tropical Birds Key To Evolutionary Mystery", 2007 (html)

3. Bourgeois K., Cure C., Legrand J., Gómez-Díaz E., Vidal E., Aubin T. & Mathevon N. (2007) Morphological versus acoustic analysis: what is the most efficient method for sexing yelkouan shearwaters Puffinus yelkouan?. Journal of Ornithology, 148:261–269 (pdf)

2. Gómez-Díaz E. & González-Solís J. (2007) Geographic assignment of seabirds to their breeding origin: combining morphology, genetics, stable isotopes and trace elements in Cory’s shearwater. Ecological Applications, 17(5): 1484–1498 (pdf)
*See "El Pais" research highlight "El análisis químico de las plumas de un ave indica donde nació" (html)

1. Gómez-Díaz E., González-Solís J., Peinado, M.A. & Page, R.D.M. (2006) Phylogeography of the Calonectris shearwaters using molecular and morphometric data. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 41: 322-332

Publications not included in the SCI

1. Dietrich M., Gómez-Díaz E., Boulinier T. & McCoy K.D (2008). Local distribution and genetic structure of tick-borne pathogens: an example involving the marine cycle of Lyme disease. In Integrative Acarology. Proceedings of the 6th European Congress (Eds. Bertrand M, Kreiter S, McCoy KD, Migeon A, Navajas M, Tixier M-S & Vial L). European Association of Acarologists: 33-42 (pdf) 

Popular science
Gómez-Díaz, E. & González-Solís, J. (2012). Una historia de evolución conjunta: Te llevo a todas partes los piojos y las aves marinas. Quercus 311: 38-44

Ph.D. thesis
'Genetic structure of Calonectris shearwaters and their ectoparasites'. Departament de Biologia Animal, Universitat de Barcelona (2007) (pdf)

Scientific Activities

  • EU FP7 and H2020 Expert Evaluator (Research Executive Agency, European Commission)
  • Referee of scientific projects for national and international agencies : ANECA (Spain), FCT (Portugal), Marsden Funds (New Zealand), National Geographic Society
  • Referee of scientific publications (Frontiers, Mol Ecol, J. Biogeography, Ecol Lett, Biol Conserv, Ecography, Int J Parasitol, Mol Phyl Evol, etc)
On-going Collaborations