About Me

Important note: as of 11/2021 I’m taking a break from academia.

I’m a recently (07/2021) graduated PhD in Cognitive Science and Language. I got my title as part of the Cognitive Biology of Language group, led by Cedric Boeckx (University of Barcelona).

I was trained as a linguist, but always had a strong interest in Biology and Cognitive Science. In my PhD I focused on the evolution of the Homo sapiens cognitive profile relative to other human species (Neanderthals, Denisovans), from genotype to expression data to phenotype.

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I’m currently working on ways to use open genomics databases to draw conclusions about cognitive phenotypes from extinct and current humans. The fact that I use public datasets forces me to come up with creative ways to combine and treat data, with an increasing emphasis in reproducibility and open science.

I have a number of tangential interests I haven’t been able to pursue as much as I’d want to yet. These include a liking for Population Genetics, human-specific cognitive disorders and Deep Learning methods.

Apart from the academic stuff, in my free time I like to play bass - mostly jazz.


Zanella, M., Vitriolo, A., Andirko, A., Martins, P. T., Sturm, S., O’Rourke, T., Laugsch, M., Malerba, N., Skaros, A., Trattaro, S., Germain, P.-L., Mihailovic, M., Merla, G., Rada-Iglesias, A., Boeckx, C., & Testa, G. (2019). Dosage analysis of the 7q11.23 Williams region identifies BAZ1B as a major human gene patterning the modern human face and underlying self-domestication. Science Advances, 5(12).

First author preprints

  1. Andirkó A., Moriano J., Vitriolo A., Kuhlwilm M., Testa G., Boeckx C. (2021). Fine-grained temporal mapping of derived high-frequency variants supports the mosaic nature of the evolution of Homo sapiens. BiorXiv.
  2. Andirkó A., & Boeckx C. (2019). Modern human alleles differentially regulate gene expression in brain tissues: Implications for brain evolution. BiorXiv.

Other preprints

There are several projects where I’ve participated in a more secondary role. These have ranged from language complexity to genetic regulation of bone development. For more details, see my CV.


From time to time I like to write posts about my field, technical tips I use and academic life in general.