Johannes Jaeger

Johannes Jaeger

Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG); Barcelona, Spain

Yogi Jaeger is a group leader at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona. He is applying dynamical systems theory to the evolution of biological regulatory networks. The aim is to understand how the structure and dynamics of such systems influence the rate and direction of phenotypic evolution.

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Yogi was trained as a Drosophila geneticist under Walter Gehring in Basel, then decided to explore theoretical, mathematical, and philosophical aspects of biology, science, and life in general with Brian Goodwin, at Schumacher College in Dartington, Devon, UK. During his PhD with John Reinitz at Stony Brook University, NY, he learnt to combine experimental and theoretical approaches to reverse-engineer a developmental gene regulatory network—the gap gene system of Drosophila melanogaster. Yogi is now applying this quantitative data-driven modelling methodology to a comparative, systems-level study of the evolving gap gene network in dipteran insects (flies, midges, and mosquitos). He started this project as an independent postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Michael Akam, in Cambridge UK, and is now carrying on with this research with his own group in Barcelona. Yogi is spending the academic year 2014/15 as part of the focus group on 'Gene Regulation and Organismal Diversity', organised by Steve Frank, at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Wiko) zu Berlin.

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"Evolution, in its most simple form, is an interplay between population-level processes, such as neutral drift or natural selection, and the production of phenotypic variability by physiological or developmental processes. To gain a deeper and more rigorous understanding of evolutionary dynamics, it is necessary to study both of these complementary aspects. However, we are only beginning to appreciate the active and self-organising role of physiological and developmental regulatory systems in evolutionary innovation and change. "

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