Marta Losa Llabata, Ph.D., University of California, San Francisco
I am a postdoctoral scholar completely fascinated by the major question of how transcriptional networks control mammalian embryonic development. My current postdoctoral research focuses on combining classic developmental biology and high-throughput genomic technologies to better understand the mechanisms underlying craniofacial development. Specifically, I am interested in the study of the genetic and molecular mechanisms controlling the morphogenesis and fusion of the facial prominences. Abnormalities of this morphogenetic process result in the most common human craniofacial birth defect, cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CL/P), which unfortunately affects approximately 1 in 700 live births. Using the mouse as a model system, this fellowship will help me to decipher the transcriptional profiles that define all the cells at the fusion site and how this fusion process is spatiotemporally regulated. Moreover, I will be directly comparing controls and available genetic mutant mouse lines with CL/P that will ultimately lead to a deeper understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of human orofacial clefting.
In my spare time, I always go hiking and enjoy camping trips with my husband and friends. This is the way I find easier to relax and enjoy some gorgeous views. I love the outdoors, and what a better place than California for this? I have had the chance to visit many breathtaking places since I moved to San Francisco. But I think Yosemite National Park is my favorite so far!