Profile picture of Margarida Cardoso Moreira

Welcome. I am an evolutionary biologist working on the problem of how new organs originate and how they evolve across vertebrates.

My research tries to understand the genetic (genes and types of mutations) and developmental bases (cellular origins and developmental constraints) of morphological innovations. It’s an interdisciplinary endeavor combining evolution, developmental and genomics.

In February 2021 I will start my group at the Francis Crick Institute. We will use the placenta as our model with which to investigate the genetic and developmental basis of how organs originate (using fishes) and diversify (using mammals).

Until then, I will continue leading a research program on the molecular evolution of mammalian organs in Henrik Kaessmann’s group at Heidelberg University. We are using functional genomics techniques to compare the development of several organs across multiple mammalian species (human, rhesus macaque, mouse, rat, rabbit and opossum).

I did my PhD research at The University of Chicago in the group of Manyuan Long and then I was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University in the group of Andrew G. Clark. While at Chicago and Cornell, I studied the evolution of genetic novelties in flies. My research focused on understanding how new duplicated genes are created, their early dynamics in populations and why some eventually become fixed.