Mihaela Pavličev

Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr.

Deputy Head of the Department of Evolutionary Biology

Head of the Unit for Theoretical Biology

phone +43-1-4277-56700

External links

Profile in ResearchGate

Profile in Google Scholar

Teaching at the Univ. Vienna

 About me

My foremost interest is in the organismal features that enable evolvability of complex organisms. To understand phenotypic evolution, we need to understand what patterns of heritable phenotypic variation the developmental/physiological systems are able to produce, what are the consequences of specific patterns of variation over short terms (population genetic scale) and long terms (species divergence observed in comparative biology) under selection and drift, and how the patterns of variation themselves evolve.

One recurring evolutionary phenomenon is the decoupling of variation between traits, and subsequent individuation of parts and the origin of new biological units. In this context, my work pertains to the role of pleiotropy and interactions in this process.

I pursue these questions of evolvability and individuation in theory as well as in empirical work on the evolution of limbs and of the mammalian female reproductive system.


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Pavličev, M., McDonough-Goldstein, C. E., Zupan, A. M., Muglia, L., Hu, Y. C., Kong, F., Monangi, N., Dagdas, G., Zupančič, N., Maziarz, J., Sinner, D., Zhang, G., Wagner, G., & Muglia, L. (2024). A common allele increases endometrial Wnt4 expression, with antagonistic implications for pregnancy, reproductive cancers, and endometriosis. Nature Communications, 15(1), [1152]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-45338-4


Hansen, T. F., Houle, D., Pavlicev, M., & Pelabon, C. (2023). Introduction: Evolvability. In Evolvability. A unifying concept in evolutionary biology? Vienna Series in Theoretical Biology




Sakashita, A., Maezawa, S., Takahashi, K., Alavattam, K. G., Yukawa, M., Hu, Y-C., Kojima, S., Parrish, N. F., Barski, A., Pavlicev, M., & Namekawa, S. H. (2020). Endogenous retroviruses drive species-specific germline transcriptomes in mammals. Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, 27(10), 967-977. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41594-020-0487-4


Kshitiz, Afzal, J., Maziarz, J. D., Hamidzadeh, A., Liang, C., Erkenbrack, E. M., Nam, H., Haeger, J-D., Pfarrer, C., Hoang, T., Ott, T., Spencer, T., Pavličev, M., Antczak, D. F., Levchenko, A., & Wagner, G. P. (2019). Evolution of placental invasion and cancer metastasis are causally linked. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3(12), 1743-1753. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-1046-4

Sahu, B. S., Rodriguez, P., Nguyen, M. E., Han, R., Cero, C., Razzoli, M., Piaggi, P., Laskowski, L. J., Pavlicev, M., Muglia, L., Mahata, S. K., O'Grady, S., McCorvy, J. D., Baier, L. J., Sham, Y. Y., & Bartolomucci, A. (2019). Peptide/Receptor Co-evolution Explains the Lipolytic Function of the Neuropeptide TLQP-21. Cell Reports, 28(10), 2567-2580.e6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2019.07.101


Dunn-Fletcher, C. E., Muglia, L. M., Pavlicev, M., Wolf, G., Sun, M-A., Hu, Y-C., Huffman, E., Tumukuntala, S., Thiele, K., Mukherjee, A., Zoubovsky, S., Zhang, X., Swaggart, K. A., Lamm, K. Y. B., Jones, H., Macfarlan, T. S., & Muglia, L. J. (2018). Anthropoid primate-specific retroviral element THE1B controls expression of CRH in placenta and alters gestation length. PLoS Biology, 16(9), e2006337. [e2006337]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2006337

Showing entries 1 - 20 out of 62