Vania Alves E Silva Pereira
I have been working in the Population and Forensic Genetics field since 2006. I hold a BSc. degree in Biology, a MSc. degree in Forensic Genetics, and a PhD degree in Biology, with emphasis in Population and Forensic Genetics. I was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Retsgenetisk Afdeling – Retsmedicinsk Institut from 2013 to mid-2015.
I have been an Assistant Professor at the same department since 2015. I am involved in several projects running at the department, and besides research, I also have experience in teaching and supervising PhD students, MSc students, and trainees.
Fields of interest
The main focus of my research is to understand the factors that shape the genetic diversity patterns in human populations. I am also very interested in applying my knowledge of population genetics and forensic genetics to real casework situations.
I have studied various genetic markers (STRs, SNPs, Indels) on the X and Y chromosomes, autosomes, and mtDNA. Initially, these studies were done with traditional capillary electrophoresis methods, but since 2013, I have been working with different next generation sequencing (NGS) technologies.
My research is currently focused on two main topics:
Ancestry Informative Markers in forensic and population genetics
The study of Ancestry Informative Markers (AIMs) is the main choice when assessing individual ancestry or to detect patterns of substructure in populations. Several projects on the dynamics of human genetic diversity are currently ongoing, through collaborations with colleagues from Brazil, Ecuador and Japan.
Besides tracing individual genealogies, AIMs may have the potential to help in forensic investigations, namely in the identification of disaster/missing person investigations.
Analysis of complete mtDNA genomes
This project aims to analyse complete mtDNA sequences in reference population samples using NGS methods, and to contribute to the establishment of a reference database.
The analysis of mtDNA sequences allows the identification of maternally inherited lineages and can help to understand the female mediated ancestry in populations. Comparison with Y-chromosomal and autosomal information can reveal differences in admixture patterns between men and women.