André Cavalcanti

  • Expertise


    Andre Cavalcanti’s areas of biological research can be grouped into three main areas, all involving molecular evolution, and sometimes overlapping:

    1. Gene scrambling in ciliates, with a particular focus on the mechanisms with which these cells perform their rearrangements and the evolutionary origins of these mechanisms.
    2. Patterns of gene duplications in whole genomes, thought to be the main mechanism by which genetic novelties arise.
    3. Origin and evolution of the genetic code, with a focus on the enzymes responsible for translating the code. 

    Research Interests

    • Origin of Life
    • Origin of the Genetic Code and Translation Apparatus
    • Evolution of Eukaryotic Genomes by Gene Duplications
    • Evolution of Trans-splicing
    • Evolution of Ciliate Genome Organization and Scrambled Genes

    Areas of Expertise


    • Origins of the Genetic Code
    • Bioinformatics
    • Computational Biology
    • Trans-Splicing
  • Work


    With H.M. Salim ’09 and M.C. Negritto, 1+1=3: A Fusion of 2 Enzymes in the Methionine Salvage Pathway of Tetrahymena thermophila Creates a Trifunctional Enzyme That Catalyzes 3 Steps in the Pathway. PLoS Genet 5(10):e1000701, 2009

    With M. Adachi ’09, Tandem stop codons in ciliates that reassign stop codons. J Mol Evol. 68(4):424-31, 2009

    With N.A. Stover, Using NCBI BLAST. In Current Protocols in Essential Laboratory Techniques, Online supplement. Wiley, 2009

    With K. Ring ‘07 and H.M. Salim ’09, “Patterns of Codon Usage in Two Ciliates that Reassign the Genetic Code: Tetrahymena Thermophila and Paramecium Tetraurelia,” Protist, 2008

    With H.M. Salim, Factors Influencing Codon Usage Bias in Genomes. J Braz Chem Soc, 19: 257-262, 2008

    With M. Möllenbeck, Y. Zhou, F. Jönsson, W.J. Chang, S. Juranek, T.G. Doak, G. Rozenberg, H.J. Lipps, L.F. Landweber, The pathway for detangling a scrambled gene. PLOS ONE, 3(6):e2330, 2008

    With K. Ring ’07, “Consequences of Stop Codon Reassignment on Protein Evolution in Ciliates with Alternative Genetic Codes” in Molecular Biology and Evolution 25(1), pp. 179-86, 2008

  • Education


    2002, Ph.D., Chemistry
    Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

    1998, Master of Arts, Chemistry
    Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

    1996, Bachelor of Arts, Chemistry
    Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brazil

    Professional Experience

    Postdoctoral Fellow, Princeton University

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Computer Programming in Biology
    • Genomics & Bioinformatics w/Lab
    • Ind Std: Biology
    • Introductory Genetics Lab
    • Introductory Genetics w/Lab
    • Lab, Genomics and Bioinformatics
    • Critical Inquiry Seminar
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    National Science Foundation, Research in Undergraduate Institutions Grant, $211,397 over 3 years, for the project: “Detection and Analysis of Fused Genes in Eukaryotic Genomes,” 2009