Dr Jorge Rene-Espinosa

Photo of Dr Jorge Rene-Espinosa

BSc (Madrid), MSci (Complutense) PhD (Complutense)

Oppenheimer Fellow of the Department of Physics, Cavendish Laboratory


I grew up in the North-West mountains of Madrid (Spain), in a place where I am still in love with.

Not far from there, I studied Chemistry, in the University Complutense of Madrid, where I spent quite a good and long time since I also did there my master’s in Science and my PhD. Alike the ultra-cold ices (yes, ices, because there are more than 17 different types) that I studied during my PhD, I keep intact and frozen my good memories from those years. After finishing my PhD, I moved to Cambridge to take up a post-doctoral position in protein genome organization, and very luckily, some months later I obtained the Oppenheimer Fellowship for carrying out here all my research goals and funding my projects.

But besides of my favourite hobby (I let you guess which one is), in my spare time, I enjoy playing country and blues music with my acoustic guitar, riding on horse through the countryside and supporting and watching my football team.


Although all the cells of our body contain the same DNA sequence, depending on how our genome is spatially organized determines which of our genes will be activated and which ones will be silenced.

Because of that, even though nowadays sequencing the genome has become so fast that it can be done within a single day, the knowledge of our DNA sequence is not enough for understanding urgent open questions in biology such as which is the molecular mechanism that enables cell diversity to emerge from the same DNA information, how genome structure is transformed during the development from a zygote to a fully grown organism, and what happens with the spatial organization of the genome when things go wrong during diseases like cancer.

Therefore, now the challenge has moved to interpreting our genome and finding out how it functions. The goal of my research is understanding the spatial genome organization from a physical-chemistry perspective. In that respect, my research is precisely focused on providing a mechanistic, thermodynamic and molecular understanding of the formation, regulation and interaction of the genomic proteins and the DNA involved in the cell 3D spatial organization. As a tool for it, I use computer simulations and I develop theoretical models - guided by experimental observations - to describe and understand the multi-component protein and DNA mixtures found inside the Cell nucleus.

In addition to my research, I am also involved in the Research Development Scheme of the University Department of Physics to promote and help in identifying the most interesting funding calls to all our members by launching a weekly Bulletin of Research Funding Opportunities.