Dr Jordi Paps Montserrat

School of Biological Sciences
Dr Jordi Paps Montserrat
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 876389

  • Location

    3SW.3.14A, Colchester Campus



2015 to present - Lecturer, Course director of Biological Sciences, School of Biological Sciences, University of Essex. 2012 - Post-doctoral researcher, J.W. Jenkinson Laboratory for Evolution and Development. ERC Advanced project Genome Evolution in the Animal Kingdom (Department of Zoology, University of Oxford). 2010 - Post-doctoral fellow Beatriu de Pinós (Generalitat de Catalunya , Catalan Government, Spain). Project: Genome Biology and Evolution of the Animal Kingdom (Department of Zoology, University of Oxford). 2009 - Post-doctoral researcher. Project:Origins of animals and their closest relatives (Parc Científic de Barcelona, Spain).


  • PhD in Genetics (2008, Departament de Genètica, Universitat de Barcelona). Molecular phylogeny of Bilateria: a multigenic approach.

  • Diploma on Advanced Studies in Genetics (2003, equivalent to M.Sc.,Departament de Genètica, Universitat de Barcelona). New molecular markers to solve metazoan phylogeny.

  • B.Sc. Biology (2001,Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona)

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Evolution & Genomics

I am an evolutionary biologist fascinated by the causes that underlie the origins and diversity of the organisms. I am interested in the evolution of animals and plants, their systematics, body plans and their genomes. My primary focuses are molecular phylogenetics and comparative genomics, mixing classical biology (especially invertebrates) with genetics, molecular biology, developmental biology, phylogeography and biodiversity.

Current research

Evolutionary genomics, exploring the genomic basis of biological adaptations and transitions

Teaching and supervision

  • Genetics and Evolution (BS102)

  • Animal Evolution, Ecology and Behaviour (BS113)

  • Scientific and Transferable Skills for Biosciences (BS141)

  • Enterprise and Employability for the Biosciences (BS211)

  • Genome Science (BS222)

  • Research Project in Biomolecular Science (BS831)

  • Professional Skills for Ecological and Marine Scientists (BS257)

  • Biomedical Science: Practice and Employability (BS214)


Journal articles (27)

Straw, ML., Chaplin, AK., Hough, MA., Paps, J., Bavro, VN., Wilson, MT., Vijgenboom, E. and Worrall, JAR., (2018). A cytosolic copper storage protein provides a second level of copper tolerance in Streptomyces lividans.. Metallomics : integrated biometal science. 10 (1), 180-193

Pascual-Anaya, J., Sato, I., Sugahara, F., Higuchi, S., Paps, J., Ren, Y., Takagi, W., Ruiz-Villalba, A., Ota, KG., Wang, W. and Kuratani, S., (2018). Hagfish and lamprey Hox genes reveal conservation of temporal colinearity in vertebrates. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 2 (5), 859-866

Paps, J. and Holland, PWH., (2018). Reconstruction of the ancestral metazoan genome reveals an increase in genomic novelty. Nature Communications. 9 (1), 1730-

Holland, PWH., Marlétaz, F., Maeso, I., Dunwell, TL. and Paps, J., (2017). New genes from old: asymmetric divergence of gene duplicates and the evolution of development. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 372 (1713), 20150480-20150480

Dunwell, TL., Paps, J. and Holland, PWH., (2017). Novel and divergent genes in the evolution of placental mammals.. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 284 (1864), 20171357-20171357

Ruiz-Trillo, I. and Paps, J., (2016). Acoelomorpha: earliest branching bilaterians or deuterostomes?. Organisms Diversity & Evolution. 16 (2), 391-399

Paps, J., Xu, F., Zhang, G. and Holland, PW., (2015). Reinforcing the Egg-Timer: Recruitment of Novel Lophotrochozoa Homeobox Genes to Early and Late Development in the Pacific Oyster. Genome Biology and Evolution. 7 (3), 677-688

Kenny, NJ., Sin, YW., Hayward, A., Paps, J., Chu, KH. and Hui, JHL., (2015). The phylogenetic utility and functional constraint of microRNA flanking sequences. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 282 (1803), 20142983-20142983

Jákely, G., Paps, J. and Nielsen, C., (2015). The phylogenetic position of ctenophores and the origin(s) of nervous systems. EvoDevo. 6 (1), 1-1

Marlétaz, F., Paps, J., Maeso, I. and Holland, PWH., (2014). Discovery and classifi cation of homeobox genes in animal genomes. Methods in Molecular Biology. 1196, 3-18

Scotti, JS., Leung, IKH., Ge, W., Bentley, MA., Paps, J., Kramer, HB., Lee, J., Aik, W., Choi, H., Paulsen, SM., Bowman, LAH., Loik, ND., Horita, S., Ho, C-H., Kershaw, NJ., Tang, CM., Claridge, TDW., Preston, GM., McDonough, MA. and Schofield, CJ., (2014). Human oxygen sensing may have origins in prokaryotic elongation factor Tu prolyl-hydroxylation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 111 (37), 13331-13336

Erezyilmaz, DF., Hayward, A., Huang, Y., Paps, J., Acs, Z., Delgado, JA., Collantes, F. and Kathirithamby, J., (2014). Expression of the Pupal Determinant broad during Metamorphic and Neotenic Development of the Strepsipteran Xenos vesparum Rossi. PLoS ONE. 9 (4), e93614-e93614

Ludeman, DA., Farrar, N., Riesgo, A., Paps, J. and Leys, SP., (2014). Evolutionary origins of sensation in metazoans: functional evidence for a new sensory organ in sponges. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 14 (1), 3-3

Tsai, IJ., Zarowiecki, M., Holroyd, N., Garciarrubio, A., Sanchez-Flores, A., Brooks, KL., Tracey, A., Bobes, RJ., Fragoso, G., Sciutto, E., Aslett, M., Beasley, H., Bennett, HM., Cai, J., Camicia, F., Clark, R., Cucher, M., De Silva, N., Day, TA., Deplazes, P., Estrada, K., Fernández, C., Holland, PWH., Hou, J., Hu, S., Huckvale, T., Hung, SS., Kamenetzky, L., Keane, JA., Kiss, F., Koziol, U., Lambert, O., Liu, K., Luo, X., Luo, Y., Macchiaroli, N., Nichol, S., Paps, J., Parkinson, J., Pouchkina-Stantcheva, N., Riddiford, N., Rosenzvit, M., Salinas, G., Wasmuth, JD., Zamanian, M., Zheng, Y., Garciarrubio, A., Bobes, RJ., Fragoso, G., Sánchez-Flores, A., Estrada, K., Cevallos, MA., Morett, E., González, V., Portillo, T., Ochoa-Leyva, A., José, MV., Sciutto, E., Landa, A., Jiménez, L., Valdés, V., Carrero, JC., Larralde, C., Morales-Montor, J., Limón-Lason, J., Soberón, X., Laclette, JP., Cai, X., Soberón, X., Olson, PD., Laclette, JP., Brehm, K. and Berriman, M., (2013). The genomes of four tapeworm species reveal adaptations to parasitism. Nature. 496 (7443), 57-63

Paps, J., Medina-Chacón, LA., Marshall, W., Suga, H. and Ruiz-Trillo, I., (2013). Molecular Phylogeny of Unikonts: New Insights into the Position of Apusomonads and Ancyromonads and the Internal Relationships of Opisthokonts. Protist. 164 (1), 2-12

Paps, J. and Riutort, M., (2012). Molecular phylogeny of the phylum Gastrotricha: New data brings together molecules and morphology. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 63 (1), 208-212

González-Estévez, C., Felix, DA., Smith, MD., Paps, J., Morley, SJ., James, V., Sharp, TV. and Aboobaker, AA., (2012). SMG-1 and mTORC1 Act Antagonistically to Regulate Response to Injury and Growth in Planarians. PLoS Genetics. 8 (3), e1002619-e1002619

Paps, J., Holland, PWH. and Shimeld, SM., (2012). A genome-wide view of transcription factor gene diversity in chordate evolution: less gene loss in amphioxus?. Briefings in Functional Genomics. 11 (2), 177-186

Torruella, G., Derelle, R., Paps, J., Lang, BF., Roger, AJ., Shalchian-Tabrizi, K. and Ruiz-Trillo, I., (2012). Phylogenetic Relationships within the Opisthokonta Based on Phylogenomic Analyses of Conserved Single-Copy Protein Domains. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 29 (2), 531-544

Riutort, M., Álvarez-Presas, M., Lázaro, E., Sol, E. and Paps, J., (2012). Evolutionary history of the Tricladida and the Platyhelminthes: an up-to-date phylogenetic and systematic account. The International Journal of Developmental Biology. 56 (1-2-3), 5-17

Zhang, G., Fang, X., Guo, X., Li, L., Luo, R., Xu, F., Yang, P., Zhang, L., Wang, X., Qi, H., Xiong, Z., Que, H., Xie, Y., Holland, PWH., Paps, J., Zhu, Y., Wu, F., Chen, Y., Wang, J., Peng, C., Meng, J., Yang, L., Liu, J., Wen, B., Zhang, N., Huang, Z., Zhu, Q., Feng, Y., Mount, A., Hedgecock, D., Xu, Z., Liu, Y., Domazet-Lošo, T., Du, Y., Sun, X., Zhang, S., Liu, B., Cheng, P., Jiang, X., Li, J., Fan, D., Wang, W., Fu, W., Wang, T., Wang, B., Zhang, J., Peng, Z., Li, Y., Li, N., Wang, J., Chen, M., He, Y., Tan, F., Song, X., Zheng, Q., Huang, R., Yang, H., Du, X., Chen, L., Yang, M., Gaffney, PM., Wang, S., Luo, L., She, Z., Ming, Y., Huang, W., Zhang, S., Huang, B., Zhang, Y., Qu, T., Ni, P., Miao, G., Wang, J., Wang, Q., Steinberg, CEW., Wang, H., Li, N., Qian, L., Zhang, G., Li, Y., Yang, H., Liu, X., Wang, J., Yin, Y. and Wang, J., (2012). The oyster genome reveals stress adaptation and complexity of shell formation. Nature. 490 (7418), 49-54

Paps, J., Baguna, J. and Riutort, M., (2009). Lophotrochozoa internal phylogeny: new insights from an up-to-date analysis of nuclear ribosomal genes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 276 (1660), 1245-1254

Paps, J., Baguna, J. and Riutort, M., (2009). Bilaterian Phylogeny: A Broad Sampling of 13 Nuclear Genes Provides a New Lophotrochozoa Phylogeny and Supports a Paraphyletic Basal Acoelomorpha. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 26 (10), 2397-2406

Baguna, J., Martinez, P., Paps, J. and Riutort, M., (2008). Back in time: a new systematic proposal for the Bilateria. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 363 (1496), 1481-1491

Jimenez-Guri, E., Paps, J., Garcia-Fernandez, J. and Salo, E., (2006). Hox and ParaHox genes in Nemertodermatida, a basal bilaterian clade. The International Journal of Developmental Biology. 50 (8), 675-679

Ruiz-Trillo, I., Paps, J., Loukota, M., Ribera, C., Jondelius, U., Baguna, J. and Riutort, M., (2002). A phylogenetic analysis of myosin heavy chain type II sequences corroborates that Acoela and Nemertodermatida are basal bilaterians. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 99 (17), 11246-11251

Baguñà, J., Ruiz-Trillo, I., Paps, J., Loukota, M., Ribera, C., Jondelius, U. and Riutort, M., (2001). The first bilaterian organisms: Simple or complex? New molecular evidence. International Journal of Developmental Biology. 45 (SUPPL. 1), S133-S134

Book chapters (6)

Riutort, M., Paps, J. and R�iz-Trillo, I., (2014). Bilaterians: The Evolutionary Advantage of Being Two-Sided. In: The Tree of Life. Editors: Vargas, P. and Zardoya, R., . Sinauer Associates Inc. 978-1-60535-229-9

Riutort, M., Paps, J. and Ruiz-Trillo, I., (2012). Bilaterados. In: El Árbol de la Vida: sistemática y evolución de los seres vivos. Editors: Vargas Gómez, P. and Zardoya, R., . Editorial Reverte. 188- 195. 9788461597406

Paps, J. and Ruiz-Trillo, I., (2010). Animals and Their Unicellular Ancestors. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (Wiley Online Library)

Baguñá, J., Martinez, P., Paps, J. and Riutort, M., (2008). Unravelling body plan and axial evolution in the Bilateria with molecular phylogenetic markers. In: Evolving Pathways: Key Themes in Evolutionary Developmental Biology. 217- 238. 9780511541582

Baguñà,, J., Paps, J., Riutort, M. and Ruiz-Trillo, I., (2002). Origen y evolución de los ejes corporales y la simetría bilateral en animales. In: Evolucion: la base de la biologia. Editors: Soler Cruz, M., . Proyecto Sur de Ediciones, S.L.. 535- 548. 84-8254-139-0

Baguñà, J., Carranza, S., Paps, J., Ruiz-Trillo, I. and Riutort, M., (2000). Molecular taxonomy and phylogeny of the Tricladida. In: Interrelationships of the Platyhelminthes. Editors: Littlewood, DTJ. and Bray, RA., . CRC Press. 49- 56. 9780748409037

Other (5)

Paps Montserrat, J., (2018).Would standing on the first butterfly really change the history of evolution?. The Conversation,The Conversation

Paps Montserrat, J., (2018).We reconstructed the genome of the ‘first animal’. The Conversation,The Conversation

Paps Montserrat, J., (2017).Are viruses alive? Giant discovery suggests they’re more like zombies. The Conversation

Paps Montserrat, J., (2016).These bizarre creatures defy what we think we know about plants and animals. The Conversation

Paps, J., (2009).El Jardiner Evolutiu (The Evolutionary Gardener). Accèssit, VI Prize Joan Oró to scientific outreach,Associació Catalana de Comunicació Científica

Grants and funding


Fighting global worming: understanding parasites using evolutionary genomics

Wellcome Trust


Worming out the origins of parasitism: establishing a new model organism, Bothrioplana semperi, to study the genomic basis of convergent evolution in animal parasites.

The Royal Society

Worming out the origins of parasitism: establishing a new model organism, Bothrioplana semperi, to study the genomic basis of convergent evolution in animal parasites.

The Royal Society

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