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 among vertebrates
  • Cancer Epidemiology and Molecular Pathology 

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.

Dr. Pablo Santos currently applies his scientific knowledge as bioinformatician in the Human health sector.


Gillingham MAF, Montero BK, Wilhelm K, Grudzus K, Sommer S, Santos PSC (2020) A novel workflow to improve multi-locus genotyping of wildlife species: an experimental set-up with a known model system. bioRxiv, 376756, peer-reviewed by Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology. 10.1101/638288.

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
    Email: pablo.ligh()