Dr Irene Gallego Romero

 - Associate Investigator

Research focus: Induced pluripotent stem cells and functional genomics to address questions about the mechanisms of evolutionary adaptation in humans

Irene Gallego Romero is a Lecturer in Systems Genomics at Melbourne Integrative Genomics and the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne. A relative newcome to the field of stem cell biology, Dr Gallego Romero obtained her PhD in Biological Anthropology from the University of Cambridge, where she focused on identifying signals of recent positive selection and evolutionary adaptation in different human populations in response to their local environment. She was then awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow, which she spent in the laboratory of Yoav Gilad, at the University of Chicago. There she established induced pluripotent cell lines from humans and chimpanzees and demonstrated their validity as model systems for studies of human evolution. Today, her research group uses iPSCs from multiple human populations to examine the biological consequences of evolutionary changes in when and where in an organism certain genes are expressed, and how those changes contribute to human uniqueness.