Elie Fink

Elie Marina-Lora Fink

Host Institution

Center for Genomic Regulation
Contact details

Louis Lab
Systems Biology Unit
Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG)
Carrer del Doctor Aiguader, 88
08003, Barcelona.
+34 692344402














Background and previous research experience

I obtained my university degrees (B.Sc and M.Sc) in Chemistry. Throughout my studies I have come in close contact with fields of research ranging from organic and inorganic chemistry, where the focus was on synthesis, to chemical biology where I worked on proteins using stopped-flow fluorescence techniques to measure the kinetics governing their calcium-induced folding, to and most intensely, computational chemistry, with which I investigated different chemical systems using state-of-the-art quantum chemical methods. Computational chemistry uses the results of theoretical chemistry by applying mathematical formalisms into efficient computer programs to help describe chemical systems, their structures and properties. The approach is to take a complex chemical problem, generally pertaining to a chemical system or reaction in certain environmental conditions, and to reduce it to a simpler model. This then allows the consideration of the relative stabilities of different components of the systems and viable reaction routes.
Recently, I have also been involved in neuroscientific research requiring knowledge and use of state-of-the-art 2-photon imaging techniques. Through my experience in the field of computational modelling, I have learned the reductionist approach of answering a scientific question of interest to wholly understand the intricate interactions that govern and describe the system at hand.

Main areas of interest

I am extremely intrigued by how the olfactory system of living organisms functions - on a neural circuits level and particularly on the odorant receptor level, with its capacity to detect a vast and miscellaneous palette of odorants.
The question of how odorant ligand – receptor interactions actually function on a molecular level still remains vastly unanswered. This is a question that will possibly remain nebulous until we manage to obtain the crystal structures of the trans-membrane odorant receptors. 

FLiACT project

In my research project I aim to gain an understanding of how the peripheral encoding of odours coevolves with shifts in natural habitats and feeding niches, and to reveal the neural circuits that drive adaptive behaviours and responses to natural olfactory stimuli. This problem will be tackled by adopting a cross-species comparison of the Drosophila larva model organism, as an approach to examining the evolution of species-specific olfactory behaviours.