Newton Advanced Fellowships give international early career group leaders the chance to develop their research by linking them with some of the best research groups in the UK.

Dr Selene Fernandez-Valverde is currently working at the Advanced Genomics Unit, National Laboratory of Genomics for Biodiversity (UGA-Langebio) of Cinvestav and was recently awarded a L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International Rising Talents Award. Her work is focussed on studying the evolution of gene regulatory mechanisms underlying the phenotypic diversity and cell differentiation in multicellular eukaryotes.

She’ll work with Professor Laurence Hurst and Royal Society Research Fellow, Dr Hans-Wilhelm Nutzmann from the Milner Centre for Evolution. They’ll aim to identify functional characteristics of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in plants and potentially organisms which can be used to facilitate identifying those that are functional in certain species.

Very little is known about how long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) change through time in different organisms, particularly in plants. This makes it very challenging to identify those that are important for these changes.

Selene will work with the Milner Centre on studying lncRNAs and their effect on the tridimensional structure of plant chromatin by comparing tissues of six different types of Brassicaceae plants to better understand how they change between these species as well as how their interactions with DNA change through time.

Selene said: “It is a great privilege to be able to collaborate with Professor Hurst and Dr Wilhelm Nutzmann on this intriguing subject. We greatly appreciate the support of the Royal Society and look forward to contributing to understanding non coding RNA evolution in plants through this joint effort."