Dr Pablo Orozco-terWengel

Dr Pablo Orozco-terWengel

Lecturer

School of Biosciences

Email:
orozco-terwengelpa@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2087 5206
Location:
Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX

I have always been amazed by the diversity of animals and plants. This interest led me to study biology where I learned about population genetics and the possibility of inferring species evolutionary history using molecular markers. My work focuses on using neutral genetic markers (e.g. microsatellites) to understand the interplay between the genealogical history of populations (or species) and their distribution over space and time. However, since the arrival of next generation sequencing I've also become interested in using the power of genomics (e.g. whole genome sequencing) to search for genomic regions involved in the process of local adaptation (e.g. adaptation to temperature or diseases). Understanding how adaptation takes place is extremely important in order to develop frameworks that will help us coping with climate change and ensure species survival into the future. My work covers both wild life (e.g. Malagasy amphibians and South American bears) and domestic taxa (e.g. Iranian sheep and Moroccan goats), and uses a combination of laboratory techniques and bioinformatics.​

Education

2005-2011

  • Doctor in Natural Sciences Veterinary University of Vienna (Vienna, Austria)
  • Thesis Work: Population Genetics of Drosophila (Advisor Dr. Christian Schlötterer)

2003-2005

  • MSc. (Honors) Universiteit van Amsterdam (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
  • Thesis Work (1): Population Genetics of Dyscophus (Advisor: Dr. Miguel Vences)
  • Thesis Work (2): Detecting Natural Selection in Hybrids of Lactuca sativa and Lactuca serriola (Advisor: Dr. Danny Hooftman)

1997-2003

  • B.Sc. (Honors) Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Bogota, Colombia)
  • Thesis Work: Population Genetic Analysis of the Andean bear by means of 12 microsatellite polymorphic loci (Advisor: Dr. Manuel Ruiz-Garcia)

Professional experience

2005

Intern at the Bill & Bernice Grewcock Center for Conservation & Research, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. Phylogeographic studies of Dyscophus species and of Malagassy ground and tree boas (Acrantophis & Sanzinia). USA.

Intern in the laboratory of Prof. Dr. Axel Meyer at the University of Konstanz. Demography of Cichlid fishes. Germany.

2004–2005

Intern at Keygene N.V., Wageningen. AFLP analysis of hybrids of Lactuca sativa & Lactuca serriola as part of the Analysis of Gene Flow in Lettuce (ANGEL) project. The Netherlands.

2004

Intern at the Bill & Bernice Grewcock Center for Conservation & Research, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo. Standardization and analysis of Microsatellites in malagasy frogs (Dyscophus & Mantella) and tortoises (Pixis, Erymnochelis & Geochelonie). USA.

2003

Technical Assistant to Dr. J.C.M den Nijs & Dr. D.A.P. Hooftman in the Analysis of Gene Flow in Lettuce (ANGEL) project at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. The Netherlands.

1997–2003

Technical assistant at the Molecular Population Genetics and Evolutionary Biology Laboratory and at the Museum of Natural History of the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia.

Services

Reviewer for Molecular Ecology, Journal of Applied Ecology, PLoS One, Acta Biologica Colombiana, Heredity and BMC Evolutionary Biology, Conservation Genetics, Frontiers in Genetics, Animal Science and Biotechnologies (Cluj-Napoca), Proceedings of the Royal Society (Series B).

Grants Reviewer for BBSRC, Pontifica Universidad javeriana

Outreach activities

  • Conservation of Endangered Species and Wildlife Forensics. The Wales Gene Part sixth from conference 2012
  • BBC Summer of Wildlife Event, 2013. BBC and Cardiff University
  • Royal Welsh 2013, BBC and Royal Welsh Agricultural Society
  • Panellist at film engagement event by Cardiff SciScreen
  • Talks to various community groups, e.g. Cardiff Humanis Society and West Glamorgan Humanists
  • BBC Countryfile piece about Dine Fwr's White Park Cattle genetics

Lectured

Population genetics and conservation. Invited lecturer 2013. Centre for Agricultural and Applied Economic Sciences of the University of Debrecen, Hungary.

1999–2000: Member of the Faculty of Science's Academic Border at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia.

Professional memberships

  • Member of the Genetics Society
  • Member of Society for Tropical Ecology (GTÖ)

Academic positions

  • 2014 - present Lecturer, Cardiff University
  • 2011-2014 - postdoctoral researcher Cardiff Univeristy

My research revolves around questions regarding the process that maintain or drive changes in genetic variation in populations, e.g. demographic processes like bottlenecks and population structure, or natural selection related to adaptive processes to new environments. Within this context, I broadly divide my research in two areas. In one of them (conservation genetics) I focus on understanding historical processes that lead to the observed patterns of genetic diversity, which when contextualised with current environmental trends can be used to contribute information for the generation of management strategies for conservation. The other area is livestock genomics, where I do research to understand how the domestication process took place and the processes that have led to the current distribution of genetic variation in species such as cattle, sheep, camelids and tilapia, and use that information to contribute to the development of management plans to increase resilience and sustainability of livestock production systems.

My research uses a combination of traditional molecular markers like microsatellites and mitochondrial DNA, but also new methods from the genomics era, like SNP array data and whole genome sequencing, to generate the genetic data for analyses using population genetic approaches, landscape genetics and phylogenetics. I analyse these data with a combination of available tools, or custom made bioinformatic tools that I’ve developed according to the specific needs of a project.