Evolution and Health Research Unit

University of Valencia





Genetics, Molecular and Cell Biology, Virology, Microbiology, Epidemiology, Evolutionary Biology, Systems Biology

The Evolution and Health ("EvoSalud") group is a mixed research unit based at the Institute for Integrative Systems Biology (I2SysBio) and the FISABIO Salud Pública. It is led by two PIs, who are both members of the Genetics Department of the University of Valencia:

Fernando González-Candelas

Rafael Sanjuán

The unit is currently funded by an ERC projects (Consolidator Grant to Rafael Sanjuán), two projects of the Spanish MINECO, and grants from other funding agencies.

We study evolutionary processes in real time and their practical implications, focusing on the following main topics:

Evolutionary epidemiology of pathogens (Fernando González-Candelas): we use gene and genome sequences for epidemiological surveillance, identification of routes of transmission, and analysis of the spread of drug resistances.

Evolutionary systems biology (Fernando González-Candelas): using computational approaches, we integrate genetic, epidemiologic, evolutionary, and immunologic information about pathogens and their hosts, with the hope of gaining insight into the diseases caused by these pathogens.

Experimental virus evolution (Rafael Sanjuán): we are investigating how social traits such as cooperation and cheating evolve in viruses and how they deterimes viral fitness, drug resistance, and genetic diversity. We have also studied other topics such as spontaneous mutation, which is the ultimate source of genetic variation and a key factor determining the remarkable variability and adaptability of viruses.

Directed evolution of oncolytic viruses (Rafael Sanjuán): vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and other viruses show natural selectivity for tumoral cells, which makes them candidate therapeutic agents against cancer. We use directed evolution as a tool for improving the oncolytic properties of VSV.

The human pathogens we study, both experimentally and with bioinformatic tools, include HIV, tuberculosis, hepatitis C virus, adenovirus, and Legionella.

Universitat de València, 2017