Scroll below to find out more about us, what we do, like and where do we come from. Or if you are interested in knowing what people from the lab went on to do, see here.


Juanma Vaquerizas | Group Leader
Noelia Díaz | Postdoctoral Fellow
Rocío Enríquez-Gasca
| IMPRS PhD Student
Benjamín Hernández-Rodríguez | ZENCODE-ITN PhD Student
Clemens Hug | IMPRS PhD Student
Liz Ing-Simmons | Postdoctoral Fellow
Kai Kruse | Postdoctoral Fellow
Aaron Lecanda | PhD Student (joint with the Leidel group)
Nick Machnik | MSc Student
Diego Rodriguez-Terrones | PhD Student (joint with the Torres-Padilla lab)
Quirze Rovira | ZENCODE-ITN PhD Student

Juanma Vaquerizas |

Juanma-Vaquerizas-web (1)Juanma (Spanish short form for ‘Juan Manuel’) studied Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain. He received his PhD from the Spanish National Cancer Centre and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (2008) where he worked on the characterisation of the human transcription factor repertoire (Vaquerizas et al., 2009). Juanma trained as a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Nick Luscombe at the EMBL – European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, UK. Here, in collaboration with Asifa Akhtar’s laboratory he focused on the study of the dosage compensation mechanism in Drosophila melanogaster (Kind et al., 2008; Vaquerizas et al., 2010; Conrad et al., 2012). Since 2012, Juanma is a Max Planck Research Group Leader at the MPI in Muenster.

On top of science, Juanma also enjoys rowing, cycling, tech-stuff and playing the guitar with his band.


Noelia Díaz |

Noelia studied Biology at the Universitat de Barcelona and performed PhD studies under Prof. Francesc Piferrer’s supervision at the Institute of Marine Sciences, analysing the effect of environment on the regulation of sex differentiation in European sea bass. Noelia joined the lab in August 2014 as a postdoctoral fellow to work on chromatin dynamics during zebrafish development.

Noelia likes fish, laughing and R.



Rocío Enríquez-Gasca |

Rocio Enriquez-GascaRocío received her BSc in Genomic Sciences from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in 2011, where she performed bioinformatics analyses of core proteins of cervical cancer (Higareda et al., 2011). After obtaining her degree, Rocío worked for close to two years as a Scientific Programmer at The Genome Analysis Centre (TGAC) in Norwich, UK. At TGAC she was part of the Viral Genomics program, where she carried out next-generation sequencing data analysis of viral studies. Rocío started her PhD in October 2013, within the CiM-IMPRS graduate program.

Rocio enjoys tunas, Mexico DF, traveling and Norwich.


Benjamín Hernández Rodríguez |

Benjamin-Hernandez-portraitBenjamín is a PhD student in the lab involved within the ZENCODE-ITN project. Before, Benjamín was involved in the characterisation of the Drosophila homologue of the chromatin remodeller ATRX (López-Falcón et al., 2014) and in the construction of logic gates encoded genetically into Bacillus subtilis

It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds […] However, not every one of them is inhabited. Therefore, there must be a finite number of inhabited worlds. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near to nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely the products of a deranged imagination.

Benjamín likes books, surfing… the www and daydreaming.


Clemens Hug |

DSC_0127_editClemens obtained his Bachelor in biology from University of Konstanz and his master from Utrecht University. During his master studies, he has worked on the regulation of endosomal recycling in the lab of Peter van der Sluijs (UMC Utrecht) and on the role of Jdp2 in the oncogenesis of T-ALL in Thomas A. Look’s lab at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Currently, he is investigating chromatin organisation in Drosophila‘s development using the Hi-C chromosome conformation capture technique.

Clemens enjoys Heathrow Airport, canoeing, lake Konstanz and a good ratio of calories/euro.


Liz Ing-Simmons |

Liz Ing-SimmonsLiz studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, UK, and then did a Masters in Systems Biology at the same university, during which she was introduced to the power of computational biology. During her PhD at the MRC Clinical Sciences Centre (now MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences), Liz investigated the role of the cohesin complex in genome organisation and its effects on gene regulation by enhancers. She joined the lab in March 2017 to work on genome organisation in Drosophila.

Liz likes R, reproducibility, cooking, and tea. When not thinking about science she is probably thinking about food.


Kai Kruse |

Kai is a computational biologist by training. He studied biophysics at the Humboldt University of Berlin, and completed his Master studies in bioinformatics at the University of Potsdam. He obtained his PhD in Molecular Biology, with a focus on computational biology, from the University of Cambridge, where he investigated the role of the three-dimensional network of DNA-DNA contacts in eukaryotic nuclei on diverse biological processes. Currently, Kai is expanding his analyses to a larger number of organisms, datasets, and tools.

Science is made up of so many many things that appear obvious after they are explained.

Kai likes spending time with his family, listening to audiobooks, and coding (if there is still time).


Aaron Lecanda |

Aaron_LecandaAaron studied at undergraduate program in Genomic Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and got his BSc on 2013. He spent a one year internship at the Research Center for Infectious Diseases in Mexico City, working on developing bioinformatics approaches to study the expression of repetitive elements using RNA-seq data, which were then used to address the expression of human endogenous retroviral sequences (HERVs) in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Aaron then moved to start a PhD jointly in the Vaquerizas’ and the Leidel‘s groups. He is working in the analysis of different datasets generated with the ribosome profiling technique at Leidel’s lab.

Aaron enjoys Mexican food, outdoor activities and putting Valentina hot-sauce on almost everything.


Nick Machnik |

Nick MachnikNick received his Bachelor degree in Biology at the University of Muenster and is currently enrolled as a MSc student of Biotechnology at the same. During his Bachelor thesis he found interest in the exploration of biological data via computational techniques, which he now pursues with passion. In the Vaquerizas Lab Nick will focus on the analysis of Hi-C data from Drosophila with an evolutionary point of view as subject of his Master thesis.

Nick enjoys hiking, badminton, chess and cooking.


Quirze Rovira |

Quirze did his Bachelor in Biology at the University of Girona. During his Bachelor thesis, he started studying transposable elements (TEs) in the Gonzalez Lab at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IBE-CSIC-UPF). Quirze then pursued a MSc in Bioinformatics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and joined Manuel Irimia’s lab at the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) to study the role of TEs in the regulation of alternative splicing during early development stages of mammalian genomes. As part of ZENCODE-ITN Quirze will investigate the regulation and expression of TEs in Zebrafish, particularly interested in the developmental stages.

Nothing in bioinformatics makes sense except in the light of biology.
Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.
Nothing in evolution makes sense except in the light of DNA.

Quirze loves playing Ultimate Frisbee, explore the wild and travel to new places.