Center for Integrative Biology | U Mayor

Joaquin Letelier

Joaquín Letelier Undurraga

Assistant Professor


Biologist from the University of Chile and doctor in Neurosciences from the University of Valparaíso (2012). He did his postdoctoral work at the Andalusian Center for Development Biology (CABD) in Seville before joining the CIB as a researcher in August 2018. Using teleost models (zebrafish and medaka), his research focuses on the study of associated genetic diseases to non-coding DNA.

Fuentes R, Letelier J, Tajer B, Valdivia LE, Mullins MC. (2018). Fishing forward and reverse: advances in zebrafish genetics and phenomics. Mechanisms of Development.

Letelier J, de la Calle-Mustienes E, Pieretti J, Naranjo S, Maeso I, Nakamura T, Shubin N, Schneider I, Martínez Morales JR, Gómez-Skarmeta JL. (2018). A conserved Shh cis-regulatory module highlights a common developmental origin of unpaired and paired fins. Nature Genetics.

Letelier J, Terriente J, Belzunce I, Voltes A, Undurraga CA, Polvillo R, Devos L, Tena JJ, Maeso I, Retaux S, Gomez-Skarmeta JL, Martínez-Morales JR, Pujades C. (2018). Evolutionary emergence of the rac3b/rfng/sgca regulatory cluster refined mechanisms for hindbrain boundaries formation. PNAS.

Letelier J, Bovolenta P, Martínez-Morales JR. (2017). The pigmented epithelium, a bright partner against photoreceptor degeneration. Journal of Neurogenetics.

Nicolás-Perez M, Kuchling F, Letelier J, Polvillo R, Wittbrodt J, Martínez-Morales JR. (2016). Analysis of cellular behavior and cytoskeletal dynamics reveal a ratchet-like mechanism driving optic cup morphogenesis. eLife.

Gago-Rodrigues I, Fernández-Miñan A, Letelier J, Naranjo S, Tena JJ, Gómez-Skarmeta JL, Martinez-Morales JR. (2015) Analysis of opo cis-regulatory landscape uncovers Vsx2 requirement in early eye morphogenesis. Nature Communications.

Cortés-Campos C, Letelier J, Ceriani R, Whitlock KE. Zebrafish adult-derived hypothalamic neurospheres generate gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neurons. (2015). Biology open.

It is known that only a small part (less than 2%) of the human genome and other species has the potential to encode proteins. The remaining 98% of the DNA called non-coding, which was previously seen as non-functional (or junk DNA), now we know that it plays a key role in the temporal and spatial regulation of gene expression, through cis regulatory elements (promoters, isolators, enhancers, repressors) and non-coding RNAs. My line of research focuses mainly on the study of these regulatory elements and how they impact gene expression during embryonic development. Using genomic and genetic tools, in the laboratory we are interested in identifying regulatory elements and understanding how they impact the transcription of genes associated with the development of the visual system and the formation of appendages (fins).


Title: Microscopio fluorescente lightsheet z1: una plataforma amigable y versátil para el estudio de propiedades emergentes en células, tejidos y especímenes completos con amplio rango de tamaños

Sponsor Institution: FONDECYT

Responsible Investigator: Leonardo Valdivia y Joaquín Letelier

Date of Execution: 2019-2021

Name: FDP

Title: Análisis del patrón de expresión de genes no caracterizados durante el desarrollo embrionario de vertebrados.

Sponsor Institution: Universidad Mayor

Responsible Investigator: Joaquin Letelier

Date of Execution: 2019-2020

Name: FONDECYT Iniciación

Title: Dissecting the role of Vsx transcription factors in the development of the vertebrate visual system.

Sponsor Institution: CONICYT

Resposible Investigator: Joaquin Letelier

Date of Execution: 2018-2021


Title: Apoyo Redes internacionales entre centros de Investigación

Sponsor Institution: CONICYT

Responsible Investigator: Felipe Court

Other Investigator: Joaquin Letelier y Leonardo Valdivia

Date of Execution: 2018-2020


Leonardo Esteban Valdivia Alvarez, Universidad Mayor, Chile.

Diego Rojas Rivera, Universidad Mayor, Chile.


Juan Ramón Martínez-Morales, CABD, Universidad Pablo Olavide, Spain.

José Luis Gómez-Skarmeta, CABD, Universidad Pablo Olavide, Spain.