Dr. Roxana Yockteng-Benalcazar received her BSc and MSc from the University of Los Andes in Bogota, Colombia and her PhD from the University Paris XI-Sud at Orsay, France. Since then she has developed a collaborative and independent research program focused on the study of the plant evolution. She is especially interested in the evolution of interactions between organisms, and in particular the evolution of flower adaptation to particular pollinators.
Roxana joined the Specht Lab in 2010 as part of the floral developmental evolution team funded by an NSF IOS CAREER award. As part of the research team and most recently as leader of the team, Dr. Yockteng used traditional methods to assess gene expression (RT-PCR, in situ hybridization) of candidate genes involved in floral development. In the past year, Roxana has developed methods for next-generation sequencing in my lab and has trained undergraduate and graduate students in the methods associated with next-generation sequence analysis. Roxana's expertise in the lab enabled researchers to take advantage of new methods of sequencing, enabling us to begin to analyze entire networks associated with gene regulation and developmental evolution. In addition, due to her skills and technical expertise, Roxana was a key participant in projects investigating the evolution of the thermogenesis in cycads and the study of the SLR gene expression in Musa cultivars and its implications in dwarfism.
In addition to developing our lab's expertise in gene expression analyses and RNA-Seq, she continued her research on understanding the evolution of plant-animal interactions and its consequences in plant speciation, using molecular phylogenetic methods. She will continue to develop her research in collaboration with the Specht Lab from her new home in Bogota, Colombia.