Research interests

  • Behavioral mechanisms driving MHC diversity in wildlife
  • Evolutionary genetics of invasive species
  • Influence of chemosensory genes on behavior
  • Comparative analysis of large genomic regions among vertebrates
  • Large-scale genotyping with next-generation sequencing technologies
  • Optimizing data mining in public genomic repositories
  • Implications of Linkage Disequilibrium

The subject linking most of my research centres around the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a gene complex with an essential impact on pathogen resistance, sexual selection and odour profiles, both in humans and wildlife. I am interested in immunogenomics, population genetics, comparative structure of odorant receptor gene clusters, evolutionary ecology of mate choice and conservation genomics.

Scientific projects

The recent development of new technologies for high throughput DNA sequencing and genotyping of organisms, as well as the generation of new tools for large-scale genomic analysis, have changed the way questions from the different fields of genetics, genomics and ecology are addressed. My research is an example of this interface: currently, I am investigating chemosensory receptor genes and those of the major histocompatibility complex in three wildlife species, aiming at understanding patterns of social communication, mate choice, disease spread, population health and the invasive potential of introduced species. Teaching, education and programming are further interests which I am happy to have as part of my everyday work.


Santos PSC, Schinemann JA, Gabardo J, Bicalho Mda G (2005). New evidence that the MHC influences odor perception in humans: a study with 58 Southern Brazilian students. Hormones and Behavior 47(4):384-8.
Santos PSC, Füst G, Prohászka Z, Volz A, Horton R, Miretti M, Yu CY, Beck S, Uchanska-Ziegler B, Ziegler A (2008). Association of smoking behavior with an odorant receptor allele telomeric to the human major histocompatibility complex. Genetic Testing 12(4):481-6.
Santos PSC, Höhne J, Schlattmann P, König IR, Ziegler A, Uchanska-Ziegler B, Ziegler A (2009). Assessment of transmission distortion on chromosome 6p in healthy individuals using tagSNPs. European Journal of Human Genetics 17(9):1182-9.
Sens-Abuázar C, Santos PSC, Bicalho MG, Petzl-Erler ML, Sperandio-Roxo V (2009). MHC microsatellites in a Southern Brazilian population. International Journal of Immunogenetics 36(5):269-74.
Santos PSC, Seki Uehara CJ, Ziegler A, Uchanska-Ziegler B, Bicalho Mda G (2010). Variation and linkage disequilibrium within odorant receptor gene clusters linked to the human major histocompatibility complex. Human Immunology. 71(9):843-50.
Santos PSC, Kellermann T, Uchanska-Ziegler B, Ziegler A (2010). Genomic architecture of MHC-linked odorant receptor gene repertoires among 16 vertebrate species. Immunogenetics. 62(9):569-84.
Ziegler A, Santos PSC, Kellermann T, Uchanska-Ziegler B (2010). Self/nonself perception, reproduction, and the extended MHC. Self-Nonself. 1(3):176-191.
Santos PSC, Höhne J, Poerner F, Bicalho Mda G, Uchanska-Ziegler B, Ziegler A (2011). Does the new HapMap throw the baby out with the bath water? European Journal of Human Genetics. 19(7):733-734.
Bompeixe EP, Santos PSC, Vargas RG, Linsingen R, Zeck SC, Wowk PF, Bicalho MG (2013). HLA class II polymorphisms and recurrent spontaneous abortion in a Southern Brazilian cohort. International Journal of Immunogenetics. 40(3):186-91.

Santos PSC, Courtiol A, Heidel A, Höner O, Heckmann I, Nagy M, Mayer F, Platzer M, Voigt CC, Sommer S (2016). MHC-dependent mate choice is linked to a trace-amine-associated receptor gene in a mammal. Scientific Reports 6, 38490.

Santos PSC, Michler F-U, Sommer S (2017) Can MHC-assortative partner choice promote offspring diversity? A new combination of MHC-dependent behaviors among sexes in a highly successful invasive mammal. Molecular Ecology, in press (20.01.2017).


  • Dr. Pablo S C Santos

  • Institute of Evolutionary Ecology
  • and Conservation Genomics
  • University of Ulm 
  • Helmholtzstr. 10/1
    89081 Ulm 
    Tel: +49 731 50-22692
  • Email: pablo.santos(at)