I am a Biologist and obtained my PhD in 1990 in Genetics (Universidad Complutense, Madrid). After that I moved to the USA and France during three years to carry out post doctoral studies, specializing in Bayesian Statistics applied to Animal Breeding and Quantitative Genetics. I worked at the Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentaria (IRTA) from 1993 - 1999 and at INRA (Toulouse, France) from 1999 til 2003, when I became an ICREA Research Professor. I am also part-time professor in Universitat Autònoma of Barcelona, and I am currently based at Centre for Research in Agricultural Genomics (CRAG) on UAB campus.
Most of the genes that are of socioeconomic importance, e.g., genes affecting disease susceptibility or that makes Iberian pig meat taste good, are very difficult to find because they are influenced by many genes of small effect. My main area of research is to develop statistical and computational tools that help us to identify these genes. A topic of particular interest is combining different sources of molecular information, including complete genome sequence, to predict genetic merit. I am also concerned with studying how man has shaped the pattern of genetic variation in livestock species, mainly in the pig, through domestication and artificial selection. I participated in the consortium leading to the publication of the pig genome sequence (Nature, 2012) and I am responsible for the first genome sequence of an ancient pig, a sow that lived in the 16th century in Montsoriu Castle (Girona) and of the first Iberian pig genome.
I am currently moving towards the fascinating applications of machine learning, and deep learning in particular, to the field. My current interests include the application of machine learning technologies to genomics in livestock, humans and plants, the use of sequence data for genomic selection, and software development. I wish to study how algorithms can generate highly complex distributions such as images, shapes, behaviors or microbial abundances.