Contact: aymorales [at] igc.gulbenkian.pt
I am a molecular anthropologist with a keen interest in population genetics applied to human evolutionary history, ancient DNA (aDNA), and human pathogens. I earned my B.Sc. and M.Sc. from TEC-Tecnológico de Costa Rica- and the University of Costa Rica, respectively. I earned my Ph.D. in Archaeology at the University of Calgary in Canada, where I applied aDNA analysis on pre-Columbian skeletal samples from Central America and Mexico to address questions about ancestry and past population movements. My dissertation was funded through a Wadsworth Fellowship awarded by the Wenner-Gren Foundation of the United States. Then, I was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Center for Evolution & Medicine, Arizona State University, where I was co-advised by a computational population geneticist (Dr. Jeffrey Jensen) and a molecular anthropologist (Dr. Anne Stone).
I used population genetic modeling and approximate Bayesian statistical analyses to establish an evolutionary null model for within-host Mycobacterium tuberculosis and extended these analyses to include other human pathogens, such as Influenza A virus (IAV) and cytomegalovirus.
Currently work as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the IGC, in Portugal, where I am conducting an experimental evolution approach in combination with simulations to understand the adaptation of IAV to mutagenic drugs. My research explores the relative roles of different evolutionary processes in shaping pathogen variation and evolution, including progeny skew, infection dynamics, as well as direct and linked selection effects.