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Structure Department of Biology
Telephone 0498276188
Qualification Professore associato confermato
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Office hours
Dipartimento di Biologia, primo piano sud Dal lunedì al venerdì previo appuntamento via e-mail
(updated on 01/07/2013 08:50)

Proposals for thesis
Analysis of steroid hormones and their cognate receptors functions during zebrafish development and adult life. The research will be based on the use of zebrafish CRISPR/Cas9 mutant lines for glucocorticoid (gr) receptor and mineralocorticoid (mr) receptors we have recently prepared.

Analysis of ambra1a, ambra1b and epg5 functions on zebrafish development and the autophagy process. The research will be based on the use of zebrafish CRISPR/Cas9 mutant lines for these proteins. In particular we plan to analyse the interplay between autophagy and reproduction.

In collaboration with Prof. Alessandro Alboresi (Group of Photosynthesis and Plant Biotechnology, Prof. Morosinotto), we are also preparing ambra1a and ambra1b mutant lines of Physcomitrella patens for the study of the roles played, in this plant model, by these proteins.

Curriculum Vitae
Present position
Associate Professor of Developmental biology and Cytology (BIO/06)
Previous position
Nov 2001 - Nov 2014: Assistant professor (BIO/06, Comparative Anatomy and Cytology) at the Department of Biology, UNIPD.
Jan 2000 – Oct 2001: Technical assistant at the Department of Biology, UNIPD.

Education and certified qualifications
1986 Degree (MSc) in Biological sciences, UNIPD. Mark 110/110 cum laude.
1988 Qualification to the exercise of the Biologist profession.
1993 Ph.D. degree in Comparative endocrinology at UNIPD, Italy.
National scientific qualification for Full Professor - sector 05/B2 (Comparative anatomy and cytology) (from 2014 to 2020) and sector 05/F1 (Experimental biology) (from 2014 to 2020).

Publications in international peer-reviewed journals
Currently, her scientific accomplishments include 90 papers published in international peer-reviewed journals.
From Scopus h-index is equal to 31. orcid.org/0000-0001-8097-6369; Scopus Author ID: 66038

Research and professional experience
Jan 1985 - Dec 1986: Internship student. Biology Dept., UNIPD, supervision Prof. L. Colombo.
Mar 1987 - Mar 1988: post-graduate stage at the Laboratory of Comparative Endocrinology and at the Laboratory of Genetics, Biology Dept., UNIPD.
Nov 1988 - Oct 1992: four-year Ph.D. course in Comparative Endocrinology, supervision of Prof. L. Colombo, Biology Dept., UNIPD. During the Ph.D., stage at the Laboratory of Prof. F. Labrie, Department of Molecular Endocrinology, Laval University Medical Center, Quebec, Canada.
Jan 1993 - Dec 1994: two-years research fellowship from “Sistema Lagunare Veneziano”, Research n. 3.3, Biology Dept., UNIPD.
Nov 1994 - Dec 1995: research fellowship from the project CEE AIRI CT92-0308: “Development of new methods for the pathogen control in fish”, Biology Dept., UNIPD and Istituto Zooprofilattico delle Venezie.
Oct 1996 - Dec 1997: research fellowship on “Biochemical analysis of extraglandular steroidogenesis in teleost fish”, Ministero delle Politiche Agricole e Forestali, VI Piano triennale, Biology Dept., UNIPD.
Nov 1998 - Jan 2000: post-doctoral fellowship on “Germinal cells steroidogenesis”, Biology Dept., UNIPD.

Students mentoring activity
Since 2001, thesis supervisor of 79 students: 9 graduates (5 years); 50 bachelors (3 years); 20 masters (2 years).
Supervisor of 7 Ph.D. students and co-tutor of other 3.

Teaching activity
a.a. 2012-13 until now. "Developmental Biology", (8 CFU), Bachelor’s degree in Biology, UNIPD, Italy.
a.a. 2011-12 until now. "Cellular Biology", (6 CFU), Bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology, UNIPD, Italy.

Institutional responsibilities
Member of the Teachers college of the Doctorate School in Molecular medicine (curriculum in Regenerative Medicine).
Vice-President of the Bachelor’s level degree in Biology and of the Master’s level degrees in Evolutionary biology and Marine biology (since 2015) and Member of the Committee on Teaching. Responsible for "Syllabus” and secretary minute for the same courses (since 2009).

Peer Review activity for international journals
Reviewer: Autophagy, Journal of Endocrinology, Cells, BMC Evolutionary Biology, Differentiation, ETAP, Scientific reports, Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, General and Comparative Endocrinology, Annals of Anatomy, Microscopy Research and Technique, Italian Journal of Zoology, Disease of Acquatic Organism, Veterinary Microbiology.

Research areas
Role of liposoluble hormones and maternal mRNAs of their cognate receptors in the epigenetic long-term modulation of zebrafish development.
In teleost fish, as in other oviparous vertebrates, the ovulated oocytes contain large amounts of liposoluble hormones, such as steroid, thyroid and retinoid hormones, that are taken up from the maternal circulation and accumulated in the egg’s yolk. Aim of this research is to determine whether changes in steroid hormone concentrations or inactivation of their receptors could affect offspring development, thus demonstrating that these hormones are not only correlated with the maternal hormonal condition during the oogenesis, but are also biologically active throughout the first embryogenetic steps. To this end, we have knocked down, in the zebrafish, the mRNAs of the estrogen receptor, ers2a, and of the glucocorticoid receptor, gr, and prepared mutant lines for gr, mr and pr (ongoing) by means of CRISPR/Cas9 approach. Moreover, we have prepared a zebrafish transgenic line that works as a living biosensor model to dynamically trace glucocorticoid transcriptional activity during development and adult life in zebrafish.

Molecular characterization of the zebrafish ambra1a, ambra1b and epg5 genes and analysis of silencing effects on zebrafish development and adult life.
Since 2011 she has worked on the molecular characterization of zebrafish genes and proteins involved on autophagy: in particular ambra1a, ambra1b (positive regulator of this process) and epg5 (Rb7 effector for the fusion between autophagosome and lysosome). The corresponding genes have been knocked out by means of CRISPR/Cas9 approach. Characterization of the effects on development and adult life is actually ongoing. Silencing of these genes results on impairment of the autophagy process but also of other aspects of zebrafish physiology. In particular we are trying to understand the interplay between autophagy and sex determination as well as reproduction.

The list of publications can be found on orcid page (orcid.org/0000-0001-8097-6369) or Scopus page (Author ID: 6603856998).

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
IF1839 COMMON SCN1036885 8 1st Year (2019/20) First
IA1870 COMMON SUP5073219 6 5th Year (2019/20) First
SC1165 COMMON SC03100898 6 3rd Year (2019/20) First

Responsibility of other activity for 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 SCL1000669 3 3rd Year (2019/20) Annual ITA LUISA DALLA VALLE