Outi Hallikas

Ph.D., Post-doctoral researcher

Outi.Hallikas -at- helsinki.fi Publications

My research addresses the current lack of understanding in the generation of animal diversity. As coding regions are very similar in different metazoan species, it is likely that the diversity of forms seen in metazoans is largely not encoded in the protein-coding sequence but in the more divergent regulatory regions that control the timing, location, and level of gene expression. Learning the rules of evolution of form requires investigation of regulatory sequences and their evolution. The aim is to compare and contrast enhancer element composition for different types of genes across variety of vertebrate species, which genomes are available in the Ensembl database.

I received my Ph.D. in Genetics from University of Helsinki in 2009. I did my Ph.D. work in the laboratory of Professor Jussi Taipale, in the research institute Biomedicum Helsinki. At that time I had a very fruitful collaboration with computer scientists, Kimmo Palin and Professor Esko Ukkonen, in designing a computer software called EEL, which can predict enhancer elements.

I joined the Evo-Devo laboratory of Professor Jukka Jernvall as a postdoctoral researcher in 2012. It has been exciting to bring together my experience in studying enhancer elements, and the long-standing multidisciplinary experience on studying developmental biology and evolution in the Jernvall lab.