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Integrative Marine Ecology Department

Tel.: +39 081 5833236

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Skype: jessyjey27
Procaccini's Group website

Curriculum Vitae


Research Interests

My main scientific interest is to explore the response of marine plants to ongoing environmental changes, using multifactorial experiments conducted in mesocosms. In order to study the responsiveness in these systems, my research focuses on two main aspects: response to multiple stresses, and acquisition of stress-memory to be implemented in future environmental restoration strategies. The analysis of the response is performed using an omics approach that includes morphological, physiological, transcriptomic and epigenetic measures.

Seagrasses responses to environmental stressors, such as temperature increases, nutrients, and acidification, are usually assessed by analyzing the photo-physiological and metabolic state of the plants. To understand the main mechanisms regulating the observed responses, transcriptomics and gene expression are integrated with epigenetic analyses, such as DNA methylation. These approaches allow to quantify and identify the main pathways regulated in response to certain stress conditions. The integration of epigenetics with transcriptomics allows to deepen the molecular response mechanisms that can anticipate the observed phenotypic responses, and therefore can contribute to outline molecular markers for the improvement of the conservation of these important ecosystems.

Stress memory and the possibility of being transmitted to next generations, represents a great potential for improving the response and tolerance capacity of seagrasses to future environmental pressures. The priming technique represents a valid approach widely used in terrestrial ecology, which allows to extend the phenotypic plasticity of organisms through brief exposure to various stress factors. Studying how the "memory" of a past stress is transmitted to future generations is possible using ad-hoc experimental designs and integrating different approaches: morphological, physiological, transcriptomics and epigenetics.

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