Mar Albà graduated in Biological Sciences at the University of Barcelona (UB), and obtained her PhD at the same University in 1997. During 1997-1999 she studied for the MSc in Bioinformatics and Molecular Modeling at Birkbeck College while working as a postdoctoral researcher in the group of John Hancock at the MRC Clinical Research Centre, in London. Later she joined the group led by Paul Kellam at University College London to develop new computational tools to study herpesvirus evolution and function. She was awarded a Ramón y Cajal tenure track position in 2002 to work at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). In 2005 she was appointed ICREA Research Professor. She has directed 10 doctoral thesis and is author of more than 80 publications.
We are interested in understanding the mechanisms of molecular evolutionary innovation in genomes. We are intrigued by how novel genes originate and we are using deep RNA sequencing strategies to identify expressed genes in related species and elucidate the processes behind the emergence of new genes. We also investigate the role of repetitive sequences in the expansion of coding sequences and the formation of novel protein domains.