MOROSINOTTO TOMAS

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Scientific sector BIO/10 - BIOCHEMISTRY
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Complesso Vallisneri, 4o piano nord stanza 15 ricevimento previo appuntamento
(updated on 28/04/2015 11:21)

Proposals for thesis
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Curriculum Vitae
Tomas Morosinotto
Associate Professor in Biochemistry,
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0803-7591


a) Background and research activity

2014-date: Associate Professor in Biochemistry, Department of Biology, University of Padova. Present research focuses on the study of photosynthesis in different organisms investigating how evolution shaped the regulation of this metabolic pathway in algae, mosses and plants.
Information from basic research is exploited for the development of new strategies industrial production of biomolecules from algae. The objective of the research is to improve algae efficiency in converting light into biomass and key limiting steps of photosynthesis are being identified by integrating biophysical, biochemical and functional investigation of algae photosynthetic apparatus with genome, transcriptome, lipidome and metabolome analysis. Information obtained are exploited to develop genetically engineered strains with improved productivity for a possible industrial application. This project was awarded in 2012 of an ERC starting Grant entitled : “BioLEAP— Biotechnological optimization of light use efficiency in algae photobioreactors” and is now continuing thanks to the support of private parteners.
At present I am supervising the work of four PhD students, two post-docs, one technician as well as three master students.

2007-2013: Assistant professor in Biochemistry, Department of Biology, University of Padova. Research activity was focused on the study of regulatory mechanisms of photosynthesis in the moss Physcomitrella patens, investigating how evolution shaped their adaptation during plants land colonization. In 2009 the research activity on the possible exploitation of algae for biofuels production was started.

2006: Permanent CNRS researcher working at the LGBP (Laboratoire de Biophysique et Génétique des Plantes) in the science Faculty, Marseille, (France). Research activity was dedicated to enzymes of carotenoid biosynthesis. Renounced to the position, opting for a position as assistant professor at University of Padua.

2005: Post-doc (grant awarded by the French Research ministry on a research proposal) working at LBC (directed by Dr. David Pignol) at DEVM, CEA, Cadarache (France). The objective of the work was the structural characterization by X-ray crystallography of violaxanthin deepoxidase (VDE), the enzyme responsible for zeaxanthin synthesis in plants. Contract was ended early, opting for a permanent position

2002 – 2004: PhD thesis under the supervision of Prof. Bassi, working on plants photosynthetic apparatus compositions and functional regulation. The thesis was entitled: “Light Harvesting Complexes in Higher Plants: Role, Organization and Regulation”. The main subject of the work was the characterization of the antenna system of Photosystem I.

b) Publications in peer-reviewed journals

• 88 Publications in peer-review journals; 62 in the last 10 years (2008-2017)
• 28 Publications as last author (27 in last 10 years)
• 3021 citations (2715 in last 10 years)
• Average Impact Factor of publications 5.24
• h-index 35



b) Conference oral presentations

33 oral presentations in National (11) and International (22) conferences. Among these 5 invited lectures selected :
• Invited speaker at 1st European Congress on Photosynthesis Research ePS-1 (http://eps1.org/)
• Keynote lecture: “Algae genetic engineering to improve productivity in industrial cultivation” at FITEMI – 1° Italia

Research areas
1. BIOFUELS PRODUCTION FROM ALGAE
Some species of algae have an interesting potential as feedstock for the production of biodiesel thanks to their ability to accumulate large amount of lipids. Strong research efforts are however needed to fulfill this potential and address many issues involving optimization of cultivation systems, biomass harvesting and algae genetic improvement. Research activity in the lab aims to address one of these issues, the optimization of algae light use efficiency. Light, in fact, provides the energy supporting algae growth and must be exploited with the highest possible efficiency to achieve sufficient productivity and make their cultivation competitive.
Algae are cultivated in photobioreactor, where growing conditions are different from the ones cells are evolutionary adapted to. One main target of the work is to isolate genetically improved strains which are more productive in this artificial environment. The work focus on algae of the genus Nannochloropsis, which are highly interesting for biofuels for its fast growth rate and high lipid productivity.

2. PHOTOSYNTHESIS ADAPTATION UPON LAND COLONIZATION
Photosynthesis is a process of a key relevance for the biosphere, as photosynthetic organisms convert sunlight into chemical energy, generating molecular oxygen as a secondary product. Plants and algae are often exposed to variable light intensities and evolved several regulatory mechanisms to modulate the energy transfer efficiency following the metabolic constraints, maximizing light harvesting when light is limiting and dissipating any energy in excess when light irradiation is too high. Otherwise, surpluses of absorbed energy would drive to the formation of harmful oxidative species, leading in the worst cases to cell death. The regulation of excitation energy transfer to the Photosystem reaction centres is thus a key process for photosynthetic organisms survival and productivity.
In this part of the research we use the moss Physcomitrella patens as a model organism to study regulation of photosynthesis,. As a bryophyte, Physcomitrella patens diverged from seed plants early after land colonization its study of Physcomitrella patens can provide information on how photosynthetic eukaryotes adapted to terrestrial lifestyle conditions.

3. STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF ENZYMES OF THE CAROTENOIDS BIOSYNTHESIS
Carotenoids are molecules with an essential role in photosynthesis, being involved in both photoprotection and light harvesting. Furthermore, thanks to their antioxidant activity they are molecules with high added value for food industry.
Despite their seminal role for plant biology, carotenoid biosynthesis is still poorly understood we are focusing in particular on the structure and function of Violaxanthin de-epoxidase (VDE), the enzyme responsible for high light-induced zeaxanthin synthesis

Publications
5 recent selected publications
1. Alboresi A, Le Quiniou C, Yadav SKN, Scholz M, Meneghesso A, Gerotto C, Simionato D, Hippler M, Boekema EJ, Croce R, Morosinotto T. New Phytologist 2017 213(2):714-726. IF 7.21,
2. Gerotto C, Alboresi A, Meneghesso A, Jokel M, Suorsa M, Aro EM, Morosinotto T , PNAS 2016 113(43):12322-12327, IF 9.423.
3. Alboresi A, Perin G, Vitulo N, Diretto G, Block MA, Jouhet J, Meneghesso A, Valle G, Giuliano G, Maréchal E, Morosinotto T . Plant Physiol. 2016 171(4):2468-82, IF 6.28
4. Perin G, Bellan A, Segalla A, Meneghesso A, Alboresi A, Morosinotto T . Biotechnology for Biofuels 2015 8:161. IF 6.044 .
5. Gerotto C, Franchin C, Arrigoni G, Morosinotto T . Plant Physiol. 2015 168(4):1747-61; IF 6.841

List of taught course units in A.Y. 2017/18
Degree course code (?) Degree course track Course unit code Course unit name Credits Year Period Lang. Teacher in charge
SC1166 COMMON SCP4067770 BIOCHEMISTRY
Details for students enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18
Current A.Y. 2017/18
    ITA TOMAS MOROSINOTTO
»   SCP4067772 BIOCHEMISTRY 2
Details for students enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18
Current A.Y. 2017/18
6 1st Year Second
semester
ITA ELENA ZIVIANI
»   SCP4067771 BIOCHEMISTRY I
Details for students enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18
Current A.Y. 2017/18
7 1st Year Second
semester
ITA TOMAS MOROSINOTTO
SC1175 005PD SCN1028730 BIOCHEMISTRY
Details for students enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18
Current A.Y. 2017/18
8 1st Year First
semester
ENG ILDIKO' SZABO'
SC1175 006PD SCN1028730 BIOCHEMISTRY
Details for students enrolled in A.Y. 2016/17
Current A.Y. 2017/18
8 2nd Year First
semester
ENG ILDIKO' SZABO'
SC1175 006PD SCO2044108 ENVIRONMENTAL BIOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOENERGY PRODUCTION
Details for students enrolled in A.Y. 2016/17
Current A.Y. 2017/18
8 2nd Year First
semester
ENG FIORELLA LO SCHIAVO
SC1731 COMMON SCO2044108 ENVIRONMENTAL BIOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOENERGY PRODUCTION
Details for students enrolled in A.Y. 2016/17
Current A.Y. 2017/18
8 2nd Year First
semester
ENG FIORELLA LO SCHIAVO