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Faculty Spotlight: Mirna Marinić

Mirna Marinić, PhD joined the Department of Biology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as an Assistant Professor in January 2023. She originally comes from Croatia where she earned an equivalent of the BS degree in molecular biology in 2006. She then moved to Heidelberg, Germany, to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and completed her PhD in developmental biology in 2012. Dr. Marinić embarked on another adventure in 2016, crossed the ocean, and joined the lab of Dr. Vincent Lynch at the University of Chicago, Human Genetics Department, where she investigated the evolution of mammalian pregnancy. After the short postdoc in the lab of Dr. Neil Shubin at the Organismal Biology and Anatomy Department, where she looked at the limb regeneration in axolotls, she joined the Department of Biology at UL Lafayette. She teaches Developmental Biology and Advanced Cell Biology courses.

Ever since her PhD, when she studied the gene regulation during mouse development, Dr. Marinić has been curious about how the same gene toolkit employed to build tetrapod limbs can produce such a variety of limb forms. Her research in Chicago led Dr. Marinić to the model system she uses in her lab to explore the big question: what actually makes this "variation on a theme" in animal bodies? Specifically, the Marinić lab investigates how various mammalian species build different versions of their placentas. What are the molecular underpinning of placental variations – how different genes at the maternal-fetal interface changed their activity during the evolutionary times to modulate the interactions between maternal organism and the growing embryo. She employs a combination of molecular biology, genomics, and cell culture methods, as well as organoids, which are quickly becoming an invaluable tool in basic biology as well as biomedical research.

Dr. Marinić is also very passionate about science outreach, especially collaborative projects that use artistic expression to interpret scientific research. Pregnancy being such a relatable topic to the general public, Dr. Marinić hopes to team up with the colleagues and students from the humanities and arts departments, to expand University’s outreach efforts.

Contact Dr. Marinić or learn more through these links:
Mirna Marinić's Google Scholar page
Mirna Marinić on Twitter (@MirnaMarinic)