José Aguilar-Rodríguez, PhD

I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the laboratory of Dmitri Petrov in the Department of Biology of Stanford University and in the laboratory of Daniel Jarosz in the Department of Chemical & Systems Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine. I completed my PhD in the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich working in the laboratory of Andreas Wagner. My main research interests are the evolution of biological systems and the fundamental organizational principles of life.

My research aims to elucidate how genotypes map onto phenotypes in diverse biological systems—and endeavor with important consequences for evolution, development, and disease. This is a research goal broad enough as to capture many of the genetic and evolutionary phenomena which I find especially fascinating such as robustness, evolvability, epistasis, pleiotropy, phenotypic heterogeneity, gene expression noise, or protein mistranslation. In my research, I incorporate the mechanistic perspective of systems biology into an evolutionary framework. During my PhD I studied empirical adaptive landscapes and genotype-phenotype maps, the role of molecular chaperones in protein evolution, and the metabolic determinants of enzyme evolution.

I was funded with an Early Postdoc Mobility Fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation and since July 2019 with a Long-Term Fellowship from the European Molecular Biology Organization. At Stanford, in collaboration with the laboratory of Hunter Fraser, I study how the fitness effects of mutations in important biological modules of a cell change with the environment and the genetic background. To do so, I combine computational approaches and quantitative genetics with cutting-edge techniques for genome editing and high-resolution lineage tracking, which are revolutionizing the experimental study of evolution. This research has broad implications for the biology underlying complex phenotypes, the inference of phenotypes from genotypes, the prediction of evolutionary responses, and practical fields such as personalized medicine, crop and livestock improvement, and genome editing.

You can find me in Twitter as @jaguilarrod.