Strategic Research

Genomics of Individuality

The general topics that interest us revolve around the genomics of individuality: what is there in our genome that makes us the way we are? What does it tell about our ancestry? How does it affect our susceptibility to diseases? How can this be applied in practical settings, i.e., in forensic genetics?

This is implemented in practice in three main projects:

  • we are trying to link surname frequency, origin, and Y chromosome diversity in men carrying some Catalan surnames,
  • we are characterizing the skin microbiome in healthy and psoriatic skin to reveal whether psoriasis has a microbial trigger; and
  • we are working in a case-control association study to detect any host genetic determinant of a poor progression in 2009 A(H1N1) influenza.

Main projects

  • 1.

    Skin metagenomics

    How the human body works cannot be understood without its relationship with its associated bacterial and viral flora. Human genomic diversity can be extended to encompass the genomic diversity of the microbes living with us. We are studying the skin microbial flora to try to comprehend the skin as a complex ecosystem.

  • 2.

    Genetic susceptibility factors in poor influenza progression

    Little is known about the possible genetic susceptibility factors for infectious diseases beyond some classical examples in malaria. Taking the opportunity created by the 2009 A(H1N1) influenza pandemic, we are collecting confirmed influenza cases that required hospitalization and had no obvious risk factors, and comparing them with milder cases.

  • 3.

    A genetic atlas of Catalan surnames

    Given their transmission, surnames behave as alleles at a locus in the Y chromosome, but they also carry linguistic, social, and historic information. We have selected a list of 50 Catalan surnames and intend to gather a sample of 50 men for each of those surnames.



Bioinformatics expertise:

Group Leader:

Francesc Calafell


Judit Sainz