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Miguel Alcaide

Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D. Universidad de Sevilla (Spain)

MCZ Room 500C
Tel: 617-496-8387
Fax: 617-495-5667






  • 2009    Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, U.S.A.
  • 2007    Ph.D. Biology at the University of Seville (Spain)                
  • Advisors: Juan J. Negro and David Serrano                                   
  • Dissertation: Conservation Genetics of the Lesser Kestrel Falco  naumanni: neutral and adaptive variation
  • 2001    Degree in Biochemistry at the Universidad de Sevilla (Spain)

Research Interests

Genomics has a great impact on science and society. Certainly, the advent of modern DNA technologies has revolutionized our way to understand and manage the natural environment and its resources.  The vast majority of DNA sequence data collected to date is however restricted to a short array of model species. Therefore, there is a knowledge gap between model and non-model species that needs to be filled. That is the main focus of my research, which main goal is to facilitate the use of molecular methods by ecologists and evolutionary biologists. During my PhD, I successfully developed molecular protocols for the investigation of adaptive genetic variation  at genes belonging to the major histocompatibility (MHC) in birds of prey. This method has been applicable to all raptor species tested so far, and consequently, it has softened to some extent the traditionally assumed methodological difficulties associated with the isolation of MHC genes in non model species. Recently as a postdoc, I have designed a universal and highly efficient DNA-barcoding protocol for the investigation of arthropod vector-borne diseases as well as I have dealt with more complex MHC systems from passerine species. During my stay at the Edward’s lab, I intend to unravel the molecular basis for the isolation of many other genes involved in the triggering of an immune response. I will focus primarily on avian species since migratory birds may be important during the spread of emerging infectious diseases of current concern in public and animal health such as avian influenza or West Nile virus. To cover this aim, I will analyze and compare sequence data from the chicken and the zebra finch genome projects. A more realistic multi-locus approach of the genetic cues underlying resistance or susceptibility to infections should be important to predict the impact of pathogen outbreaks and for the developing of more efficient control policies.



  • Alcaide M, Edwards SV, Cadahia SV and Negro JJ (in press) MHC class I genes of birds of prey: isolation, polymorphism and diversifying selection. Conserv Genet. DOI 10.1007/s10592-008-9653-7
  • Alcaide M, Negro JJ, Serrano D, Antolin JL, Pomarol M and Casado S (in press) Captive breeding and reintroduction of the lesser kestrel: a genetic analysis using microsatellites. Conserv Genet. DOI 10.1007/s10592-009-9810-7
  • Alcaide M, Serrano D, Negro JJ, Tella JL, Laaksonen T et al (2009) Population fragmentation leads to isolation by distance but not genetic impoverishment in the philopatric Lesser Kestrel: a comparison with the widespread and sympatric Eurasian Kestrel. Heredity, 102: 190-198
  • Alcaide M, Serrano D, Tella JL and Negro JJ (2009) Strong philopatry derived from capture-recapture records does not lead to fine-scale genetic differentiation in lessser kestrels. J Animal Ecol, 78, 468-475
  • Alcaide M, Edwards SV, Negro JJ, Serrano D and Tella JL (2008) Extensive polymorphism and geographical variation at a positively selected MHC class II B gene of the lesser kestrel (Falco naumanni). Mol Ecol 17: 2652-2665
  • Alcaide M, Edwards SV and Negro JJ (2007) Characterization, Polymorphism and Evolution of MHC class II B genes in birds of prey. J Mol Evol 65: 541-554
  • Alcaide M, Negro JJ, Serrano D, Tella JL, Rodriguez C (2005) Extra-pair paternity in the Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni: a re-evaluation using microsatellite markers. Ibis 147: 608-611


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