Johannesson Lab at Stockholm University

I started my PhD studies with Hanna Johannesson’s group in Nov 2020. My main research interests revolve around understanding how selfish genetic elements interact with and shape the evolution of organisms and their genomes. Selfish genetic elements are parts of the genome that goes against the normal laws of inheritance and instead ensure that they themselves are passed on to the next generation. In my studies I study a type of selfish elements called transposable elements (TEs). TEs are genetic elements that can copy themselves and insert themselves elsewhere in the genome, often negatively impacting the host genome. On one hand TEs cause a multitude of problems for the host, which has led to an evolutionary arms race between the ability of TEs to copy themselves and the host genomes ability to stop them through various defence mechanisms. On the other hand, the sequences of TEs often build up important structural areas of chromosomes, such as centromeres and telomeres that are necessary for the cell to function.

In my research I study the evolution of TEs and their interaction with host genomes in filamentous fungi. Filamentous fungi are highly relevant in this field as they have evolved unique defence mechanisms against the proliferation of TEs. I am mainly conducting my research bioinformatically by studying the genomes and their evolution between species, but also to some extent by performing experiments in the wet lab.

Search for Ivar Westerberg's papers on the Publications page