Katie Emelianova, PhD

Postdoctoral fellow

phone:+43-1-4277-540 40

room: 232



Biographical information

Since Aug 2022: Marie Curie postdoctoral fellow, University of Vienna, Austria.

Main project: StrucRadiation: The role of structural variation in adaptive radiation.

2022: Postdoctoral researcher, Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, UK.

20192022: Postdoctoral bioinformatician, Demetia Research Institute, UK.

2018–2019: Data analyst, Edinburgh Genomics, Genome Science Division, UK.

2016–2018: Bioinformatician, Edinburgh Genomics Clinical Division, UK.

20122017: PhD Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Edinburgh, UK.

2009–2012: BSc Biology, Queen Mary University of London, UK.

My research interests lie broadly in the diversification of plant taxa through space and time, and how genomic and ecological factors can explain past diversification and predict future adaptive potential. My past research has focused on topics including polyploidy, hybridization and comparative genomics, all underpinned by a strong basis in bioinformatics, with an emphasis on clean code and reproducible research.

My current work focuses on an adaptive radiation of the persimmon genus Diospyros on New Calendonia, and the role of transposable elements in driving diversification by creating new variation such as structural variants. Multiple events of long distance dispersal have brought Diospyros to New Caledonia, but not all resulted in a burst of diversification. I am interested in one clade which underwent explosive adaptive radiation and divergent and recurrent edaphic adaptation; evidence that genomes of radiating clades show substantial transposable element expansion presents an exciting opportunity to clarify the role of transposable elements in driving adaptive radiations, and to unpick the mechanisms by which they do so.

Other projects I am currently interested in are focused on comparative genomics of Cyrtandra and Begonia, two highly speciose genera with close relatives that are strikingly species-poor. Here, genome wide patterns of selection are used to test for signatures of relaxed selection in branches leading to large genera relative to small genera. This work will contribute to our understanding of why some taxa speciate readily, and others do not.


Awards / Third-party funding

2022: Marie Curie Fellowship (EU Commission) with Host Ovidiu Paun (University of Vienna) - "StrucRadiation: The role of structural variation in adaptive radiatio" (ca €180K).


Emelianova K, Kidner C. 2022. Comparative transcriptome analysis of two closely related Begonia species reveals divergent patterns in key light regulated pathways. Edinburgh Journal of Botany in press.

Loan JJ, Kirby C, Emelianova K, et al. 2021. Secondary injury and inflammation after intracerebral haemorrhage: a systematic review and meta-analysis of molecular markers in patient brain tissue. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry 93:126-132.

King D, Skehel PA, Dando O, Emelianova K, et al. 2021. Microarray profiling emphasizes transcriptomic differences between hippocampal in vivo tissue and in vitro cultures. Brain Communications fcab152.

Emelianova K, Martinez MA, et al. 2021. Multi-tissue transcriptome analysis of two Begonia species reveals dynamic patterns of evolution in the chalcone synthase gene family. Scientific Reports 11: 17773.

Baxter PS, Dando O, Emelianova K, et al. 2021. Microglial identity and inflammatory responses are controlled by the combined effects of neurons and astrocytes. Cell Reports 34: 108882.

Kidner C, Groover A, Thomas DC, Emelianova K, et al. 2016. First steps in studying the origins of secondary woodiness in Begonia (Begoniaceae): combining anatomy, phylogenetics, and stem transcriptomics. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 117: 121-138.

Matthews A*, Emelianova K*, et al. 2015. 250 years of hybridization between two biennial herbs without speciation. AoB Plants 7: plv081.

Recent conference contributions

Emelianova K, Khastgir TS, Paun O. 2023. Rapid adpative radiation in the persimmon genus: investigating the diversifying role of transposable elements. SMBE 2023. Ferrara, Italy, 22-27 July Feb 2023 [poster presentation]

Emelianova K, Samuel R, Munzinger J. Paun O. 2023. Rapid adpative radiation in the persimmon genus: investigating the diversifying role of transposable elements. PSL-Qlife Winter School in Quantitative Biology: The Genomics of Transposable Elements - Unmasking their Complex Contribution to Genome Function and Evolution. Paris, France, 6-10 Feb 2023 [poster presentation]

Emelianova K et al. 2022. Revealing functional and genomic differences between two species of the megadiverse genus Begonia. ESEB 2022, Prague, Czech Republic, 14-19 Aug 2022 [poster presentation]