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Peter Andersen


Current position: Assistant Professor, Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, Denmark and previously Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA), Austria. 

During his AIAS-COFUND Fellowship Peter Andersen worked on the project 'Innovation of genome regulation through arms race evolution in animals'.

Project at AIAS

Regulation of gene expression forms the foundation for basic cellular processes, development and disease in multicellular organisms. During my postdoctoral work in Vienna, I discovered that animal genomes, through rapid ‘arms race’ evolution, evolve new molecular mechanisms that allow the cell to bend and bypass the textbook rules of gene expression. Such ‘hacked’ gene expression produces RNA molecules that are essential for animals to combat genetic parasites such as transposons (‘jumping genes’). With my AIAS fellow project, I will build on these new concepts to identify the molecular mechanisms underlying ‘hacked’ genome expression, 2) investigate the connection between transposon silencing and general regulation of the genome. To address these questions, I will combine genetic manipulation of both in vivo models (Drosophila) and cell culture systems with molecular analysis using diverse genomics approaches. With my research as AIAS fellow I aim to pioneer the emerging field of heterochromatin-based expression mechanisms and uncover new modes of genome regulation during animal development and disease. 

Short bio

Peter Andersen’s vision is to understand how animal genomes are regulated by leveraging the evolutionary arms races that constantly take place within them. To achieve this, Peter combines his PhD training in the molecular biology of gene expression with his postdoctoral experience in the field of genome defense and genetic conflicts using fruit flies and cell culture systems. 

Project title

Innovation of genome regulation through arms race evolution in animals    

Area of research

Molecular innovation in genetic conflicts    

Fellowship period

01 Oct 2019 - 18 Nov 2022


AU Pure profile


”A fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) with a recently evolved gene expression regulator that inhibits transposons (selfish jumping genes) stained in red. Image: Peter Refsing Andersen and Daniel Reumann”