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Structure Department of Biology
Telephone 0498276198
Qualification Professore associato confermato
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BIBLIOMETRIC INDICATORS (1993-2017; ORCID ID: 0000-0001-5232-3918):

H-index (from SCOPUS and WEB OF SCIENCE): 24

Office hours
Lab 19 ("Biologia delle Ascidie"), Dipartimento di Biologia - primo piano Sud si riceve su appuntamento
(email:; tel. 049-8276198)
(updated on 26/06/2013 11:47)

Proposals for thesis
1. EVOLUTION OF THE IMMUNE SYSTEM: characterisation of haemocytes and immunosurveillance in tunicates, which are phylogenetically important for their affinity with vertebrates. In particular, the different cell types will be studied by a morphological and functional point of view (phagocytosis, chemotaxis, cytotoxicity, recognition, inflammation) in order to define their role and the differentiation lines starting from undifferentiated pluripotent cells ("stem cells"), which are also under investigation.
2. ANALYSIS OF THE COLONIAL ASCIDIAN CYCLE: colonies of ascidians undergo a periodic weekly regression in breeding conditions, during which the old zooids are replaced by new ones. The phenomenon is interesting for the study of programmed cell death (apoptosis) in the basal Chordates. The colonial cycle will therefore be analysed in relation to changes that occur at the individual, tissue and cellular level during regression and generational change, searching the mechanisms of take-over and expression of pro- and anti-apoptotic genes that, in Vertebrates, characterise the caspase cascade.
3. STUDY OF THE ASCIDIAN COMMUNITY IN THE LAGOON OF VENICE: ecological topic. The ecological succession of hard-substrate macrofouling will be assessed periodically, using various descriptors of biodiversity, on panels of various materials (antifouling paints on the market or new types of coastal protection systems such as geotextiles) immersed in selected stations of the lagoon with various hydrodynamics.
4. ECOTOXICOLOGY: immunotoxicity caused by new antifouling compounds alternatives to organotin compounds in marine invertebrates. The issue of possible immunosuppressive action will be addressed on new antifouling substances recently introduced as alternatives to organotin compounds (TBT, TPT) which were banned worldwide for their high toxicity on non-target marine sessile invertebrates and for the consequent severe damages to coastal marine ecosystems.
5. RESTORATION AND CATALOGING OF COLLECTIONS OF VERTEBRATES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY: the student will learn the main techniques of conservation, exposition, restoration and cataloguing of a class of Vertebrates concerning taxidermic specimens or preserved in fluid, skeletons and replicas of fossils. Patience, methodicalness, orderliness, initiative and creativity are required.

The student must be seriously motivated and interested, prepared at a constant frequency of laboratory or, in the case of theses in the field, available to regular excursions for analysis and measurements. Exams of Cell Biology, Zoology and Comparative Anatomy are required as a prerequisite. The student:
a) will acquire knowledge and methodologies based on various histological, histochemical, histoenzymatic and immunohistological techniques applied to light, fluorescence, transmission and scanning electron microscopy, which find various applications in the field of biological and natural sciences;
b) will develop independent research in the laboratory and/or in the field following both collection and breeding of the animals and carrying out short-term cell cultures;
c) will use indices of toxicity and descriptors of biodiversity for assessing immunotoxic effects and de-structurating effects on the benthic community, respectively.

Curriculum Vitae
Prof Francesca Cima was born in Padova (March 29, 1966) where she lives. In July 16, 1990 she had a degree in Natural Sciences at the University of Padova with full marks cum laude. In January 21, 1991 she was admitted into Doctorate of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Padova and in June 22, 1994 achieved the PhD with her dissertation "Haemocytes and immunity in the colonial ascidian Botryllus schlosseri". From 1996 to 1998, she obtained a two-year postdoctoral fellowship concerning the research field "Evolutionary Biology" in the Department of Biology. In June 19, 1998 she was awarded the "Paolo Gatto's national prize" of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei regarding environmental problems of the lagoon of Venice. In February 1, 1999, she obtained a two-year research collaboration fellowship in the project entitled "Differentiation and cell interactions in Tunicates" with a further two-year renewal. In 2000, she was the Scientific Chief of the Research Project for Young Researchers entitled "Development of new bioindicators and biomarkers for the study of environmental impact by organotin compounds on coastal ecosystems". In October 1, 2001 she obtained a master in "Microscope analysis techniques in biological sciences" at the University of Pavia. From 2005 to 2018 she was Assistant Professor in "Comparative Anatomy and Citology" at the Department of Biology, University of Padova. Since 2019, she is Associate Professor of "Comparative Anatomy and Cytology" and teaches the courses of "Cell Biology" and "Evolutionary History of Vertebrates" for the first degree in Biology.

Prof Francesca Cima is a member of Unione Zoologica Italiana, Gruppo Embriologico Italiano, Associazione Italiana Naturalisti, Società di Scienze Naturali del Trentino, Società Italiana di Immunobiologia Comparata e dello Sviluppo, Society for Histochemistry, and Società Italiana di Istochimica, of which she is a member of the management board since 2018. She was advisory board member of the international journal "Applied Organometallic Chemistry" (ISSN:1099-0739, Wiley & Sons Ltd, Prof PJ Craig General Editor), and today of the international journal "European Journal od Histochemistry" (ISSN: 1121-760X, PAGEPress; Editor in Chief: C. Pellicciari). Her research activity is documented by more than 200 in extenso scientific publications, contributions to international congresses, contributions to national congresses, book chapters; she is also author of 1 monograph, 1 book editing, 1 English-to-Italian translated book chapter.

Lecturer's Curriculum (PDF): 69FBEA249D87378A4D32649CD6E3F15E.pdf

Research areas
a) Haemocyte lines and immunesurveillance in marine invertebrates with a focus on tunicates (Ascidians and Thaliaceans)
b) Immunotoxicity and bioaccumulation of anti-fouling compounds in coastal marine invertebrates used as bioindicators (ascidians, bivalves, sea urchins, sipuncula, soft corals)

a) Apoptosis and colonial cycle in the ascidian Botryllus schlosseri
b) Embryotoxicity and alterations of larval development by antifouling compounds in marine invertebrates
c) Spermatogenesis in Appendicularians
d) Morpho-functional aspects of the alimentary canal of Ascidians, Thaliaceans and Appendicularians.

See the pdf enclosed.

Lecturer's Publications (PDF): 69FBEA249D87378A4D32649CD6E3F15E.pdf

List of taught course units in A.Y. 2019/20
Degree course code (?) Degree course track Course unit code Course unit name Credits Year Period Lang. Teacher in charge
SC1165 COMMON SC06100878 7 2nd Year (2019/20) First
SC1165 COMMON SC02119879 6 3rd Year (2019/20) First