Irene has an interest in the crosstalk between organs - in particular, how and why the intestine communicates with other organs, such as the brain. Her lab was one of the first to use the powerful genetics of Drosophila to tackle this question: work that they have now extended to mouse and human models. Irene and her team discovered that brain-gut communication differs between the sexes, and that intestinal sex differences impact food intake, fertility and tumour susceptibility. They also investigated how the intestine senses nutrients, revealing unexpected roles for metal sensing in promoting feeding and growth.
Irene trained as a biochemist in Barcelona, Spain and received her PhD in Genetics from the University of Oxford. She investigated how neurons develop during postdoctoral work at Harvard, Linköping University (Sweden) and NIMR (now Crick Institute).
Irene is an EMBO member (previously EMBO YIP) and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences. She has been awarded a Suffrage Science Women in Science award and the Genetics Society Mary Lyon Medal. She currently holds an ERC Advanced Grant and was previously awarded an ERC Starting Grant.
Professor of Genetics and Physiology and MRC Investigator, MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences, Imperial College London
Interest and expertise
Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
Cell biology (incl molecular cell biology)
Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology
Developmental biology, Genetics (excluding population genetics)
Anatomy, physiology and neurosciences
Animal (especially mammalian) and human physiology and anatomy (non-clinical), Development and control of behaviour, Physiology incl biophysics of cells (non-clinical), Physiology and medicine (non-clinical)