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coppola ugo
Short postdoctoral fellowship
Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms Department

Tel. +39 081 5833345
Fax: +39 081 7641355
e-mail ugo.coppola(at)szn.it

Curriculum Vitae

Research interests

The ascidians were considered as favorite models for experimental biology starting from nineteen century due to their simple embryos and rapid development. These advantages, coupled to the possibility to combine whole genome assays with cellular resolution analyses, make ascidians so unique among chordates, also because they are the sister group of Vertebrata.
Using molecular and developmental techniques, I study the evolution and development of otolith and ocellus, which are the sole pigmented sensory organs of ascidian Ciona intestinalis, making it a powerful model to study melanocytes in chordates. I am interested in the study of gene regulatory network (GRN) implicated in CNS (central nervous system) development, in fact the objective is to shed light on the molecular mechanisms regulating the development of pigment cells in ascidians: I would like to discover the different transcriptional profiles orchestrating the fate between unpigmented and pigmented cells of the same lineage. I am focusing on the study of regulatory regions of  known pigmentary genes and the discovery of new markers for ascidians pigmentation cells. To understand better the evolution of pigment cells I am using other two ascidians (Molgula occulta, Molgula oculata), for comparing gene expression and regulation in ascidian clade.
Furthermore, I am also interested in the evolution of pigmentary genes across evolution, mainly in Deuterostomes. I would like to investigate the impact of gene expansion, gene loss and genome duplications by comparative genomics and also using models available in BEOM (sea urchin, amphioxus, zebrafish).


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