Laura Casas Castaño, Ph.D.

Technical Support Researcher

Contact Information

Institute of Marine Research (CSIC)

Eduardo Cabello, 6. Vigo. Pontevedra. 36208 (Spain)

(+34) 986231930 ext. 246

Researcher ID: G-9347-2015


Research interest

My research interests involve the use of genomic and transcriptomic tools to unveil the molecular mechanisms underlying sex determination and regulation of gonad development in fish to understand the huge plasticity and diversity displayed by this group of animals. Likewise, I aim to apply the genome-wide signals generated by these cutting-edge technologies for ecological and evolutionary studies at different functional levels: ecosystem, communities and individuals. My PhD addressed the identification and isolation of sex-specific DNA markers in marine fish of interest in aquaculture, in order to unveil the genetics behind commercially desirable traits. I then spent a two-year postdoctoral period in Singapore where I studied the genetic regulation of the scale pattern in cyprinids, and more recently, I moved to Saudi Arabia for three years to study the genetic mechanism underlying sex change in clownfish through transcriptomics. During this period I also explored the genomic architecture of incipient speciation in two Labroid color morphs using restriction-site-associated DNA sequencing (RAD-seq). I have also pursued an MsC degree in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology in order to address the new challenges arising with the advent of the novel high throughput technologies.


Selected publications

  • Isari S, Pearman JK, Casas L, Michell CT, Curdia J, Berumen ML, Irigoien X (2017). Exploring the larval fish community of the central Red Sea with an integrated morphological and molecular approach. PLoS ONE 12(8): e0182503.
  • Casas L, Pearman JK, Irigoien X. Metabarcoding Reveals Seasonal and Temperature-Dependent Succession of Zooplankton Communities in the Red Sea. Frontiers in Marine Science. 4:241 (2017). doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00241.
  • Casas L, Saborido-Rey F, Ryu T, Michell C, Ravasi T, Irigoien X. Sex change in clownfish: molecular insights from transcriptome analysis. Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 35461 (2016), doi:10.1038/srep35461.
  • Almada F, Casas L, Francisco SM, Villegas-Ríos D, Saborido-Rey F, Irigoien X, Robalo JI. On the absence of genetic differentiation between morphotypes of the ballan wrasse Labrus bergylta (Labridae). Marine Biology (2016) 163: 86, doi:10.1007/s00227-016-2860-8
  • Pearman JK, Casas L, Merle T, Michell C, Irigoien X. Bacterial and protist community changes during a phytoplankton bloom Limnology and Oceanography (2016) 61(1):198–213, doi: 10.1002/lno.10212
  • Casas L, Szücs R, Vij S, Goh CH, Kathiresan P, Németh S, Jeney Z, Bercsényi M, Orbán L. Dissapearing scales in carps: Re-visiting Kirpichnikov’s model on the genetics of scale pattern formation. PLoS ONE (2013) 8(12): e83327, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0083327
  • Casas L, Sánchez L, Orban L. Sex associated DNA markers from turbot (Scophthalmus maximus). Marine Biology Research (2011) 7: 378-387, doi: 10.1080/17451000.2010.515226
  • Casas L, Sánchez L, Orban L “Novel microsatellites from the European plaice (Pleuronectes platessa)––identification by data mining and cross-species amplification in other flatfishes”. Conservation Genetics (2009) 10: 1565-1568, doi: 10.1007/s10592-008-9796-6
  • Casas L, Martínez P, Sánchez L Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers in the European flounder (Platichthys flesus) derived from sequence databases. Molecular Ecology Notes (2005) 5: 664-665, doi: 10.1111/j.1471-8286.2005.01036.x


Education profile

  • Sc. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, 2011
  • D., (Cum Laude), Department of Genetics of the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain, 2007.
  • Sc., in Ecology and Animal Biology, University of Vigo, Spain, 2001.
  • BSc in Marine Sciences, University of Vigo, Spain, 1998.


Professional profile

  • 2017- present: Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute of Marine Research (IIM, CSIC), Fisheries Ecology Group, Vigo, Spain
  • 2012-2016: Postdoctoral Fellow at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Red Sea Research Center, Saudi Arabia
  • 2010-2012: Manager of the Aquaculture Genomics Division at the Galician Cluster of Aquaculture (CETGA, Ribeira, Spain).
  • 2007-2009: Postdoctoral Researcher at Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory, Reproductive Genomics Group, Singapore.
  • 2003-2007: PhD Student at the Fish Genetics Group of the Veterinary Science Faculty of the University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.