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European Initial Training Network on Developmental and Computational Biology. (DevCom)

The ability to manipulate cellular pluripotency and differentiation holds the as yet unrealized promise of regenerative medicine to produce replacement cells and tissues. To this end a deep understanding of the regulation of differentiation potential in the context of normal embryonic development is crucial. The recent revolution in sequencing technology has enabled high throughput and genome-wide analysis of cellular behaviour. The challenge with the new opportunities in genome-scale quantitative data gathering is to reach a more fundamental, systems level understanding of complex biological phenomena such as development and differentiation.


Universidad Pablo de Olavide
  • The DevCom Training Programme will offer talented post-graduate students a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary training in both developmental biology and computational approaches that are essential for integrative quantitative biology, leading to a PhD degree for early stage researchers.
  • The DevCom Training Programme aims to improve the career perspectives of its Early-Stage Rerseachers (ESR) and Experienced Researchers (ER) by having them develop broad and complementary skills, including management, communication, writing, dissemination, intellectual property, and entrepreneurship, and prepare them for leading roles in academia and industry.
  • The overall goal of the DevCom Research Programme is to elucidate embryonic gene regulatory networks (chromatin, regulatory sequences, transcription factors), and developmental networks associated with disease, by integrating molecular, developmental, statistical and computational approaches, and advancing a systems level understanding of vertebrate embryonic development.
  • The Training and Research Programmes also aim to foster interdisciplinary long-lasting collaborations between consortium partners and bridge the existing gaps between academia and industry and the fields of developmental and computational biology.


UPO is the leader of the research programme within this ITN project. Besides, UPO is in charge of one of the three sub-programmes, specifically  SP1, called: Comparative epigenomics of cis-regulatory elements.

In this SP1, the use of available epigenomic data will be used to identify and compare, at a genome-wide level, all cisregulatory elements (enhancers and promoters) that operate at different developmental stages in Xenopus and zebrafish.

We will also explore the activity of specific cisregulatory elements will be also explored and how these elements are arranged in different regulatory landscapes through chromatin loops. In addition, it will be determined how different epigenetic modifications on cis-regulatory elements are established and interpreted through development, and the impact of their perturbation on gene expression and regulation.

  • Network meetings organised
  • DevCom web site launched
  • Experimental research training workshops organised
  • Personal Career Development Plans written and approved
  • Computational research training workshops organised
  • Soft and complementary skills workshops organised
  • Annual Reports
  • Report of secondments and work visits of ESRs
  • Report on ESR research progress
  • Wikipedia pages edited and completed
  • International Conference organised
  • Report on Dissemination and Valorisation of Results
  • Final report on training & research achievements & output
  • List of all PhD theses and degrees of ESRs
  • Financial reports

The DevCom consortium will provide a Training Programme in bioinformatic and computational approaches, focusing both on scientific excellence and generic, transferable skills that will enhance career development and employability, either in academia or in the private sector. The DevCom programme consists of local and network-wide training elements.

Fellows will be able to exploit both the local expertise and infrastructure of their host, and the collective multidisciplinary expertise and infrastructure of the entire network.


José Luis Gómez Skarmeta.  

Universidad Pablo de Olavide

Budget of Andalusian group: € 456,663.24

1. Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (Dept. of Molecular Developmental Biology) - NL (Coordinator)
2. MRC National Institute for Medical Research (Division of systems biology) - UK
3. Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Centro Andaluz de Biología del Desarrollo) - SP
4. Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (UMR 7221 Evolution of endocrine regulation) - FR
5. University of East Anglia (School of Biological Sciences) - UK
6. UMC Utrecht (Molecular Cancer Research) - NL
7. CLC bio (Management, R&D) - DK
8. WatchFrog - FR

Keywords: Embryogenesis, Bioinformatics, Comparative genomics, Gene regulatory networks, Enhancers, Chromatin, Transcription Disease models
Duration: 48 months. September, 1th 2013 to August, 31th 2017
Project cost: € 4,015,970.00