Armando Casas-Mollano, Ph.D.


Short Bio

Dr. Armando Casas-Mollano is a Plant Molecular Biologist born in Peru. He is particularly interested in the developmental regulation of gene expression in plants, on the molecular mechanisms involved in establishment and maintenance of long term gene repression. Armando uses two complementary model systems, the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the higher plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The alga Chlamydomonas has many advantages, including fast growth, a complete genome sequence, easy genetic transformation and mutagenesis. These features make this alga ideal for gene discovery and characterization of gene repression mechanisms. Similarly, the plant Arabidopsis thaliana is a model to study the role(s) of newly discovered genes during development and response to environmental challenges in multicellular organisms. Armando is also interested in the evolution of the mechanisms of epigenetic control of gene expression in plants. Part of his research has been dealing with the phylogenetic analyses of components of the complexes involved in transcriptional and posttranscriptional gene silencing in eukaryotes.

Dr. Casas Mollano has published more than a dozen research articles from his work focused on the characterization of epigenetic mechanisms regulating gene expression in plants. He obtained his PhD from the Department of Genetics of the University of Dublin in 2004 and his BSc in Biology from the National Agricultural University in Lima – Peru. He also holds a postgraduate diploma in statistics from the University of Dublin. From 2004 to 2012, Dr. Casas-Mollano worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Purdue University in USA. Then, he worked as a Young Investigator at the Chemistry Institute of the University of São Paulo before moving to Yachay Tech in 2016.

Research interests

  • Plant Molecular biology
  • Developmental regulation of gene expression
  • Chromatin biology and histone modifications
  • Molecular evolution
  • Plant biotechnology

Selected Publications

  • Wang Z, Casas-Mollano JA, Xu J, Riethoven JJM, Zhang C, and Cerutti H. 2015. Osmotic stress induces phosphorylation of histone H3 at threonine 3 in pericentromeric regions of Arabidopsis thaliana. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 112:8487-8492.
  • Moraes I, Yuan Z-F, Liu S, Souza GM, Garcia BA and Casas-Mollano JA. 2015. Analysis of histones H3 and H4 reveals novel and conserved post-translational modifications in sugarcane. PLoS One. 10(7):e0134586.
  • Msanne J, Di X, Konda AR, Casas-Mollano JA, Cahoon EB and Cerutti H. 2012. Metabolic and gene expression changes triggered by nitrogen deprivation in the photoautotrophically grown microalgae Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Coccomyxa sp. C-169. Phytochemistry 75: 50-59.
  • Shaver SS, Casas-Mollano JA, Cerny RL and Cerutti H. 2010. Origin of the polycomb repressive complex 2 and gene silencing by an E(z) homolog in the unicellular alga Chlamydomonas. Epigenetics. 5:301-312.
  • Casas-Mollano JA, Jeong B-r, Xu J, Moriyama H and Cerutti H. 2008. The MUT9p kinase phosphorylates histone H3 threonine 3 and is necessary for heritable epigenetic silencing in Chlamydomonas. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA.105: 6486-6491.