Research interests

I am interested in understanding how immunologically relevant genes influence behaviour, population health, sexual selection and odour profiles. I use recently developed methods in nucleic acid sequencing, bioinformatics and statistics, having wild animal species as models. I see the broader aim of my research in understanding evolution in order to support conservation efforts. Specifically, I am interested in…

  • Behavioural mechanisms driving MHC diversity in wildlife
  • Evolutionary genetics of invasive species
  • Influence of chemosensory genes on behaviour
  • Comparative analysis of large genomic regions
  • Large-scale amplicon sequencing / NGS-based genotyping 
  • Bioinformatics / Python programming
  • Population genetics
  • Linkage disequilibrium
  • Teaching 

Scientific projects

My research comprises laborious as well as fast and creative work in the ever changing field of immunogenomics. I am interested in large-scale projects on genes relevant for the immune system of vertebrates (such as the MHC), as well as on genes linked to them (such as chemosensory/olfactory receptor genes) aiming at understanding patterns of social communication, mate choice, disease spread, population health and the invasive potential of introduced species. Currently I am involved in MHC and odour-related projects in two wildlife models addressing mammal social interactions, two models for invasive species and one model for epidemiology. Teaching and Python programming are further interests which I am happy to have as part of my everyday work.


Santos PSC, Mezger M, Kolar M, Michler F-U, Sommer S (2018) The best smellers make the best choosers: mate choice is affected by female chemosensory receptor gene diversity in a mammal. Proceedings of the Royal Society London B, 285, 20182426.

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 26(8):2392-2404.

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.

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.

da Silva JS, Wowk PF, Poerner F, Santos PSC, Bicalho MG (2013). Absence of strong linkage disequilibrium between odorant receptor alleles and the major histocompatibility complex. Human Immunology 74(12):1619-23.

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.

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, 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.

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.

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, 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.

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, 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.


    Dr. Pablo S C Santos
    Institute of Evolutionary Ecology
    and Conservation Genomics
    University of Ulm
    Albert-Einstein-Allee 11
    89081 Ulm
    Tel: +49 731 50-22692
    Email: pablo.santos()