Dr Irem Sepil

Dr Irem Sepil

Irem Sepil


Name: Dr Irem Sepil
Position: BBSRC Discovery Fellow
Email: irem.sepil@zoo.ox.ac.uk


I obtained my BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics from Bogazici University, Turkey, in 2005. I then worked as a research assistant at The Center of Tropical Research, UCLA, investigating the effects of deforestation on the prevalence of blood-borne parasites in African rainforest birds. I joined the EGI in 2008 as a DPhil student supervised by Prof Ben Sheldon, studying variation and selection at Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) genes in the wild great tit population of Wytham Woods. In 2014, I took up a BBSRC-funded postdoctoral researcher position to work with Dr Stuart Wigby on ageing and seminal fluid protein-mediated sexual selection in Drosophila. In 2020, I was awarded a BBSRC Discovery Fellowship to investigate the impact of paternal age and paternal adult diet on offspring fitness in Drosophila.


My overall aim is to understand how paternal age and diet epigenetically influence the fitness of the offspring. Recent evidence suggests a father’s age and diet can have important effects on the physiology of his offspring. These highlight that paternal effects are likely to be powerful determinants of offspring fitness, yet many important questions in the study of paternal effects remain unanswered, such as why and how they occur. I will use a tractable animal model – the short-lived fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster to identify the causal relationship between paternal age, diet and offspring fitness, and to uncover the sperm-mediated epigenetic mechanisms driving these relationships.


Sepil I, Hopkins BR, Dean R, Bath E, Friedman S, Swanson B, Ostridge HJ, Harper L, Buehner NA, Wolfner MF, Konietzny R, Thezenas ML, Sandham E, Charles PD, Fischer R, Steinhauer J, Kessler BM & Wigby S (2020) Male reproductive ageing arises via multifaceted mating-dependent sperm and seminal proteome declines, but is postponable in Drosophila. PNAS; 117:17094-17103; doi: 10.1073/pnas.2009053117

Hopkins BR, Sepil I, Bonham S, Miller T, Charles PD, Fischer R, Kessler BM, Wilson C & Wigby S (2019) BMP-inhibition in Drosophila secondary cells remodels the seminal proteome, and self and rival ejaculate functions. PNAS; 116: 24719-24728; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1914491116

Hopkins BR, Sepil I, Thezenas ML, Craig J, Miller T, Charles PD, Fischer R, Kessler BM, Bretman A, Pizzari T & Wigby S (2019) Divergent allocation of sperm and the seminal proteome along a competition gradient in male Drosophila melanogaster. PNAS; 116: 17925-17933; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1906149116

Sepil I, Hopkins BR, Dean R, Thezenas ML, Charles PD, Konietzny R, Fischer R, Kessler BM & Wigby S (2019) Quantitative proteomics identification of seminal fluid proteins in male Drosophila melanogaster. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics; 18:S46-S58; doi: 10.1074/mcp.RA118.000831

Hopkins BR, Sepil I & Wigby S (2017) Seminal fluid. Current Biology; 27:R404 – R405; doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.03.063

Sepil I, Carazo P, Perry JC & Wigby S (2016) Insulin signalling mediates the response to male-induced harm in female Drosophila melanogaster. Scientific Reports; 6, 30205; doi: 10.1038/srep30205

Sepil I, Radersma R, Santure AW, De Cauwer I, Slate J & Sheldon BC (2015) No evidence for MHC class I-based disassortative mating in a wild population of great tits. Journal of Evolutionary Biology; 28:642–654; doi: 10.1111/jeb.12600

Sepil I, Lachish S, Hinks AE & Sheldon BC (2013) MHC supertypes confer both qualitative and quantitative resistance to avian malaria infections in a wild population. Proceedings of the Royal Society B; 280:20130134; doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0134

Sepil I, Lachish S & Sheldon BC (2013) MHC-linked survival and lifetime reproductive success in a wild population of great tits. Molecular Ecology; 22:384-396; doi: 10.1111/mec.12123

Sepil I, Moghadam HK, Huchard E & Sheldon BC (2012) Characterization and 454 pyrosequencing of Major Histocompatibility Complex class I genes in the great tit reveal complexity in a passerine system. BMC Evolutionary Biology; 12:68; doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-12-68

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