Margarida graduated in Biology from the University of Porto. She then moved to the United States to do her PhD research in the group of Manyuan Long at the University of Chicago. After her PhD, Margarida joined the group of Andrew G. Clark at Cornell University for a postdoc. While at Chicago and Cornell, Margarida studied the evolution of genetic novelties in flies. Her research focused on understanding how new duplicated genes are created, their early dynamics in populations and why some eventually become fixed. Her PhD and postdoctoral work were supported by fellowships from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT).
Over time, Margarida’s research interests expanded to include the genetic and developmental bases of new phenotypes. That led Margarida to return to Europe and join the group of Henrik Kaessmann, first at the University of Lausanne and then at Heidelberg University. Margarida spearheaded a research program aimed at understanding the evolution of mammalian organs, for which she received the Otto-Schmeil prize from the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences in 2020. Her postdoctoral work in the Kaessmann group was supported by fellowships from Novartis and from the European Commission (Marie Curie incoming fellowship).
Margarida will start her group at the Francis Crick Institute in 2021. She will work on the problem of how new organs originate and how they diversify across species. Margarida’s lab combines principles from evolutionary and developmental biology with state-of-the-art functional comparative genomics