Dr. Constantina Theofanopoulou is a Post-Doctoral researcher at the University of Rockefeller (New York, USA) in the Jarvis lab. She is using comparative genomics to decipher the evolutionary history of gene families and her goal is to establish a universal gene nomenclature for all vertebrates. She is an active member of the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose goal is to generate near error-free reference genome assemblies of all 70,000 extant vertebrate species.
For her Ph.D. (Barcelona, Duke and Rockefeller Universities) she focused on the role of oxytocin in the evolution of human sociality and in the evolution of speech, using songbirds as animal models. She, lastly, found evidence for the human self-domestication hypothesis using (paleo)genomic tools.
Constantina is a strong advocate for supporting women and other underrepresented minorities in Science. She is currently a STEM mentor in the New York Academy of Sciences program, teaching Life Sciences to elementary and middle school students in underserved communities throughout NYC. In 2021, she was voted networking coordinator at the Council of the Rockefeller Inclusive Science Initiative. She has also been selected as a Women on Top for mentoring voluntarily women from her home country, Greece. She has mentored young female scientists in several programs, such as the Summer Science Research Program at Rockefeller University. During her Ph.D., she received a grant from AGAUR (Agency for the Management of University and Research Grants) for a project aiming at supporting underrepresented minorities in science. During her undergraduate studies, she joined the initiative Pathways of Life, where she gave support classes to young immigrants from adverse backgrounds (war, extreme poverty, family abuse) coming to Greece for a better life.