My interests in biology have always been very broad, spanning from the smallest chemical and molecular interactions to animal’s biology, behaviour and the big picture of evolution. I find astonishing how evolution led to the biodiversity of our planet and shaped animals’ body, probably starting from one single cell. This process, that lasted billions of years, is somehow “recorded and stored” in the genome (and not only) of each cell of our body. An immense quantity of information that is used during development by extremely complex and finely regulated molecular mechanisms to partition specific cellular functions into different cell types.
I am now trying to identify, in the marine annelid Platynereis dumerilii, a class of small RNA molecules (called microRNAs) that are conserved in animals’ evolution and appear to play an important role in the regulatory network that defines the cell-type identity.
This is a unique opportunity to combine all my interests and use cutting edge technologies to answer evolutionary questions.