email: dstajic at igc.gulbenkian.pt
I did my undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade. The studies focused on Molecular Biology and Physiology. At the same University I also obtained my Master´s degree working on a project that aimed at understanding the expression pattern of endoglin and VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) in brown adipose tissue that is responsible for thermoregulation in mammals. After this I moved to Lisbon to pursue my PhD in the laboratories of Lars Jansen and Lilia Perfeito in Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência. There I worked on a project, trying to understand the role of epigenetic mechanisms of inheritance in the process of adaptation.
I am interested in how non-genetic forms of inheritance can have an impact on evolution. These mechanisms encompass many molecular pathways such as histone modifications and DNA methylation. The epigenetic states are less stable than genetic changes. However, they can have a significant impact on the phenotype and be propagated for several generations. This raises a question if epigenetic form of inheritance can impact evolution and under which conditions particular epigenetic states would be maintained in the population and prevail over genetic changes. To answer this question I am using theoretical modelling and experimental evolution approach with budding yeast as the model system.
Epigenetic gene silencing alters the mechanisms and rate of evolutionary adaptation. Dragan Stajic , Lília Perfeito * and Lars E. T. Jansen* (2019). Nature Ecology & Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-018-0781-2