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ElisoPhD Student
Biology and Evolution of Marine Organisms Department

Tel.: +39 081 5833346
Fax: +39 081 7641355
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Curriculum Vitae


Director of Studies: Antonietta Spagnuolo/Ilaria Corsi
Program: Università degli Studi di Siena, XXXIII cycle 
Ph. D. “Scienze e Tecnologie Ambientali, Geologiche e Polari”

Research Interests

Ascidians, as Ciona robusta, are assessed model systems for evolutionary and developmental biology studies, due to the simplicity of their embryogenesis and genomics. Recently, the interest on this model system for toxicological studies is somehow increased given also to its close phylogenetic relation to vertebrates. I’m currently studying, in the frame of my PhD project, the effects of selected contaminants, as Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAHs, i.e. benzo(a)pyrene), and emerging contaminants, such as dispersants and nanoplastics, on different life stages of Ciona robusta. The analyses include also their interaction with Ciona blood cells, fundamental for the immune response as well as for the transport of nutrients, in order to investigate their behaviour in physiological environments. The studies are conducted at the morphological and molecular levels, with a special attention to the ABC transporters, a class of proteins involved in defense and cell detoxification mechanisms. The aim is to achieve a more comprehensive overview, at the molecular level, of how ascidians respond to specific stressors in the laboratory. This will then permit to predict the response under natural environmental conditions and the effects of these responses on higher trophic levels.

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