About me

I am a tenure-track group leader at the MELIS department of the University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain), leading the Microbiome Research Group. Our research focuses on the role of the human microbiome in mental health and the social transmission of the microbiome.

My background in Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences (BSc Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain and MSc Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium). During my PhD (Raes Lab, VIB-KU Leuven, Belgium) I researched the microbiota-gut-brain axis, seeking to characterise the microbial production and degradation of neuroactive compounds in metagenomic data, and performing the first population-level study on the link between the gut microbiome and anxiety and depression (Valles-Colomer et al, Nat. Microbiology 2019). The study was included in “Nature milestones 2019” as milestone paper in human microbiota research, and was awarded a recommendation from F1000Prime. Towards the end of my PhD another question became increasingly important to me: how do we acquire such health- and disease-associated bacteria?

I joined Nicola Segata’s Lab in CIBIO (University of Trento, Italy) as an EMBO postdoctoral fellow and investigated how human-associated microorganisms are transmitted among individuals and spread in populations, using strain-level profiling metagenomic approaches. I assess the person-to-person transmission of the human microbiome by large scale strain-level metagenomic profiling (Valles-Colomer et al, Nature 2023)