Hello Fellows! I am one of the two newest additions to the EvoCELL ITN and will embark myself in a short-term Early Stage Research position involving sea urchins, at Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn. Having studied my Bsc in Biology and a Msc in Marine Biology I have a very broad background in general biology, from ecology to oceanography and of course molecular biology and genetics. The intriguing world of understanding the molecular mechanisms behind the evolution, ecology and development of the animal kingdom has always been an astonishing concept to me. Learning early on in my secondary education that inside us there are like encyclopaedias of genes that tell us the way living things are made was fascinating, even if it was only about yellow and green peas at the time.

In my project with EvoCELL I will be zooming in deep into the world of molecular biology as I will focus on small RNAs (microRNAs and piRNAs). I aim to construct a library of small RNAs relevant to germ line cell specification in the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus by isolating the cells in the small micromere at the early embryo stage and by making use of single cell RNA sequencing as well as other molecular techniques.

Project name: Identification of microRNAs and piRNAs involved in sea urchin germ line specification