Dr Luisa Orsini PhD

Dr Luisa Orsini

School of Biosciences
Lecturer in Biosystems and Climate Change

Contact details

Address
School of Biosciences
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston
Birmingham
B15 2TT
UK

I am a Lecturer in Biosystems and Environmental Change at UoB since June 2013. I have always been at the forefront of multidisciplinary research and work with world class researchers. My research interest is in understanding how natural populations adapt and evolve in response to environmental changes.

The main objective of my current research is to identify evolutionary causes and effects of population responses to climatic and other anthropogenic changes and predict their adaptive potential, and hence survival, to future changes. To meet this goal I study the keystone species Daphnia magna, widespread in freshwater ecosystems and sentinel for water quality, as well as key model in evolutionary biology and the study of adaptive responses to environmental change.

One of the most fascinating aspects of D. magna life cycle is the production of dormant embryos in response to environmental hardship. These embryos sink at the bottom of lakes accumulating in sedimental archives where they can remain in suspended animation for decades or even centuries. I use these dormant embryos as a resource to study evolutionary trajectories through time in response to environmental change. 

Qualifications

  • 2003 - PhD, University of Messina/Stazione Zoologica A. Dohrn Naples, Italy
  • 1999 - Master in Environmental Science, Istituto Universitario Navale, Naples, Italy

Biography

I joined the faculty of the University of Birmingham, UK in June 2013 as lecturer in Biosystems and Environmental Changes. I am also an active partner of the Daphnia Genomics Consortium

I obtained a Master in Environmental Sciences from the Istituto Universitario Navale, Naples, Italy in 1999 and a PhD in Biology from the University of Messina - Stazione Zoologica “A. Dohrn”; Naples, Italy in 2003. Since March 2003 I has been awarded several postoctoral fellowships in top University in Europe and the United States:

EDUCATION

2003 - PhD, University of Messina/Stazione Zoologica A. Dohrn Naples, Italy

1999 - Master in Environmental Science, Istituto Universitario Navale, Naples, Italy

CURRENTPOSITION

2013 – tenure - Lecturer in BioSystems and Environmental Change, Environmental Genomics Group, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham.  

PREVIOUS POSITIONS

  • 2012–2013 -senior postdoc, Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, University of Leuven, Belgium
  • 2011–2012- visiting scholar, Centre of Genomics and Bioinformatics, Indiana University Bloomington, IN, USA
  • 2008-2011- postdoc, Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, University of Leuven, Belgium
  • 2004-2008 - postdoc, Metapopulation Research Group, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 2003-2004- postdoc, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Austria

Teaching

  • Module leader in “Toxicology for the 21st century” (Master in Toxicology);
  • Module leader in Year in Continental Europe
  • Bioscience coordinator for Erasmus Plus exchange programme
  • Lecturing in the following undergraduates courses: Cell Biology and Physiology, Ecological Concepts and Plant Sciences; Adaptation to changing environments
  • Tutor for Year1, Year2, Year3 and Master students

Postgraduate supervision

PhD students

  • 2005-2009 - PhD student (Helena Wirta Koivuletho) in Biology, University of Helsinki, Finland.
  • 2010-2013 - PhD student (Daniela D'Esposito) in Biology, The Open University.
  • 2009-2015 PhD student (Aurora Geerts) in Biology, University of Leuven, Belgium.
  • 2010-ongoing: PhD student (Katina Spanier) in Biology, University of Leuven, Belgium.
  • 2014-ongoing PhD student (Maria Cuenca Cambronero) in Biosciences, University of Birmingham
  • 2015-ongoing: PhD student (Rosemary Barnett) in Biosciences, University of Birmingham:

Master students

  • 2001–2002 - Master student (Alberto Amato) in Environmental Science, Italy.
  • 2014-2015 Master student-(MSci, Hollie Marshal) in Biosciences, University of Birmingham
  • 2015-2016 Maste student (MSci, Peter Osborne) in Toxicology, Biosciences, University of Birmingham.
  • 2016 May -August. Master student (MSc, Simon Lee) in Toxicology, Biosciences, University of Birmingham.

Undergraduate projects

  • 2015-2016: Elliot Jones Biosciences, University of Birmingham
  • 2013-2015: Training internships for Biosciences students (Zoe Stroud, Hanna Tilley)
  • Summer 2015-ongoing: Training Erasmus Plus students visiting from different Universities

Doctoral research

PhD title Integrated approach to the study of diversity in the genus Pseudo-nitzschia (Bacillariophyceae): morphology, life cycles and molecular tools

Research

Cracking the Code of Adaptive Evolution using biological archives

Understanding the mechanisms of dormancy over extended time axes

Researcher ID: B-6773-2009

ResearchGate profile: http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Luisa_Orsini/?ev=hdr_xprf

Other activities

Project grants and fellowships

  • 2016-2017- BRIDGE Seed Fund for collaboration between the University of Birmingham and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; £35,000
  • 2016-2020- Research grant NERC highlights topic (NE/N016777/1). PIs: Prof J. Colbourne, Dr L. Orsini, Prof Mark Viant, DrLindsey Leach, Dr Leda Mirbahai, Dr Shan He; £1,652,574.73
  • 2014-2015 – Research Grant Royal Society (RG2014 R2). PI: Dr L. Orsini; £15,000.
  • 2010-2013 - Research network grant ESF EUROCORES Programme EuroEEFG (Grant 09-EEFG-FP-040). PIs: Dr L. Orsini (project coordinator), Prof L. De Meester, Prof E. Decaestecker; 1,520,000€ of which 330,000€ for the Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation, University of Leuven.
  • 2011-2014 - Project grant awarded to the Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation,  University of Leuven by the National Research Council (FWO), Brussels, Belgium (G061411N). PIs: Dr Luisa Orsini (coordinator), Prof Luc De Meester, Prof Ellen Decaestecker. 320,000€
  • 2010 -2013 - Project grant awarded to the Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation,  University of Leuven by the National Research Council (FWO), Brussels, Belgium (G046810N). PIs: Dr Luisa Orsini (coordinator), Prof Luc De Meester, Dr Joachim Mergeay. budget: 380,000€
  • 2012 – 2013 - postdoctoral fellowship awarded to Luisa Orsini by the National Research Council (FWO G061411N) Belgium to work in the Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation University of Leuven
  • 2011-2012 - Distinguished scholar fellowship awarded to Luisa Orsini by the National Research Council (FWO V442111N), Belgium to work in the Centre for Genomics and Bioinformatics, Bloomington Indiana University, IN, USA
  • 2008-2011- postdoctoral fellowship awarded to Luisa Orsini by the National Research Council (PDO-08-00274), Belgium to work at the Laboratory of Aquatic Ecology, Evolution and Conservation University of Leuven.
  • 2006-2008 - postdoctoral fellowship awarded to Luisa Orsini by the Finnish Cultural Foundation to work in the Metapopulation Research Group, University of Helsinki 

COMMISSIONS OF TRUST

Scientific advisor of the Sequence Advisory Committee for the Joint Environment and Health Centre at the University of Birmingham, UK; 2) Grant evaluator for (NSERC, Canada) and (BBSRC, UK).

PARTITIPATION IN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCES

54 international conferences attended: 5 keynote lectures, 10 invited lectures, 27 talks and 12 posters.

Outreach activities

  • Contribution to the BBC documentary on Earth’s Greatest Spectacles: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0717vkv;  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/16FYKvBlTrvN64JMP9l7jfj/plankton-the-source-of-life
  • Invited interviews for the New York Times:nyti.ms/1xrba0q; nyti.ms/1o7i8RA, 2bit.ly/1kVmbPL

Publications

A. Refereed papers in primary international peer reviewed journals
Representative publications

  1.  Orsini, L. Gilbert, D. Podicheti, R., Jansen, M., Brown, JB, Shams Solari,O. Spanier, K.I., Colbourne, J.K., Rush, D.,Decaestecker, E., Asselman, J.,   De Schamphelaere, K.A.C., Ebert, D. Haag, C., Kvist, J., Laforsch , C. Petrusek, A. Beckerman, A. Little,T. Pfrender, M.E. De Meester, L. FrilanderM.J. Daphnia magna transcriptome by RNA-Seq across 12 environmental stressors. (2016) Scientific Data, Nature Group In press.
  2. Amato, A. and Orsini, L. Rare interspecific breeding in Pseudo-nitzschia (Bacillariophyceae). Phytotaxa, (2015) 217: 145-154 (SCI1.8)
  3. Orsini L. Mergeay J. Vanoverbeke J. & De Meester L. (2013) The role of selection in driving landscape genomic structure of the waterflea Daphnia magna. Molecular Ecology (Invited contribution to the special issue on Evolutionary Ecological Genomics) 22: 583-601 (SCI 6.5)
  4. . D' Esposito D. Orsini L. & Procaccini G. Development of 51 novel EST-linked microsatellites in the threatened seagrass Posidonia oceanica (Posidoniaceae). (2013) Molecular Ecology Resources. (SCI:3.7)
  5. Orsini L. Spanier K. I. & De Meester L. (2012) Genomic signature of natural and anthropogenic stress in wild populations of the waterflea Daphnia magna: validation in space, time and experimental evolution. Molecular Ecology 21: 2160–2175 (SCI 6.5). This paper was highlighted in the perspectives of Molecular Ecology with the following commentary: Pfrender, M.E.  "Triangulating the genetic basis of adaptation to multifarious selection" (2012)
  6. Orsini L. Jansen M. Souche E. Geldof S. & De Meester L. (2011) Single nucleotide polymorphism discovery from expressed sequence tags in the waterflea Daphnia magna. BMC Genomics. 12: 309 (SCI:4.4) This paper has been listed in the F1000 Biology for its innovative approach. It was commented by Van Straalen, N. M.  http://f1000.com/12991956.
  7. Jansen B., Geldof S., De Meester L. & Orsini L. (2011) Isolation and characterization of microsatellite markers in the waterflea Daphnia magna. Molecular Ecology Resources. 11: 418-421 (SCI:3.7)
  8. De Meester L., Van Doorslaer W. Geerts A, Orsini L., & Stoks R. (2011)Thermal genetic adaptation in the water flea Daphnia and its impact - an evolving metacommunity approach. Integrative and Comparative Biology (invited contribution for a special volume onIntegrated analysis of thermal adaptation). 51: 703–718 (SCI 2.6)
  9. Orsini L., Decaestecker E., De Meester L. Pfrender. M. E. & Colbourne J.K. (2010) Genomics in the ecological arena. Biology Letters (SCI:3.8)
  10. Wirta H., Viljanen H., Orsini L., Montreuil O. & Hanski I. (2010) Three parallel radiations of Canthonini dung beetles in Madagascar. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 57:710-727 (SCI:3.9)
  11. Orsini L. Wheat W. C., Haag R.C., Kvist J. Frilander J. M. & Hanski I. (2009). Fitness differences associated with Pgi SNP genotypes in the Glanville fritillary butterfly (Melitaea cinxia). Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22: 367–375 (SCI:3.5)
  12. Orsini L. Corander J. Alasentie A. & Hanski I (2008). Genetic structure in a butterfly metapopulation correlates better with past than present demographic structure. Molecular Ecology 217: 2629-2642 (SCI:6.5)
  13. Wirta, H., Orsini, L. & Hanski I.(2008). An old adaptive radiation of forest dung beetles in Madagascar. Molecular Phylogenetic and Evolution 47: 1076-1089. (SCI:3.9)
  14. Orsini L. Pajunen M. Hanski I. & Savilahti H. (2007). SNP discovery by mismatch targeting of Mu transposition. Nucleic Acids Research 35 (6) e44. (SCI: 8.3) This paper was in the research highlights of Nature 2007, vol 4(4) doi:10.1038/nmeth0407-299
  15. Orsini L. Koivulehto H. & Hanski I. (2007) Molecular Evolution and Radiation of Dung Beetles in Madagascar. Cladistics 23: 145-168. (SCI: 5.0).
  16. Mirol P.M., Schäfer M.A., Orsini L., Routtu J., Schlötterer C., Hoikkala A. & Butlin R.K. (2007). Phylogeographic patterns in Drosophila montana. Molecular Ecology 16: 1085-1097. (SCI: 6.5)
  17. . Schäfer M.A., Orsini L, McAllister B.F. & Schlötterer C. (2006). Patterns of microsatellite variation trough a transition zone of a chromosomal cline in Drosophila americana. Heredity 97: 291-295. (SCI: 4.6)
  18. Amato A., Orsini L., D´Alelio D. & Montresor M. (2005) Life cycle, size reduction patterns and ultrastructure of the pennate planktonic diatom Pseudonitzschia delicatissima (Bacillariophyceae). Journal of Phycology 41: 542-556. (SCI: 2.2)
  19. Cerino F., Orsini L., Sarno D., Dell'Aversano C., Tartaglione L. & Zingone, A. (2005). The alternation of different morphotypes in the seasonal cycle of the toxic diatom Pseudonitzschia galaxiae. Harmful Algae 4: 33-48. (SCI: 4.3)
  20. Orsini L. Huttunen S. & Schlötterer C. (2004) A multilocus microsatellite phylogeny of the Drosophila virilis group. Heredity 93: 161-165. (SCI: 4.1)
  21. Procaccini G. Orsini L. Ruggiero M.V.& Scardi M. (2001) Spatial patterns of genetic diversity in Posidonia oceanica, an endemic Mediterranean seagrass. Molecular Ecology, 10: 1413-1421. (SCI: 6.5)
  22. Orsini L. & Schlötterer C. (2004). Isolation and characterization of microsatellites in Drosophila montana and their cross species amplification in D. virilis. Molecular Ecology Notes 4 (3): 412-414. (SCI: 3.7)
  23. Orsini, L., Procaccini, G., Sarn, D., & Montresor, M. (2004) Multiple rDNA ITS types within the diatomPseudonitzschia delicatissima (Bacillariophyceae) and their relative abundance across a spring bloom in the Gulf of Naples. Marine Ecology Progress Series 271:87-98. (SCI: 2.5)
  24. Montresor M., Lovejoy C., Orsini L., Procaccini G. & Roy, S. (2003) Bipolar distribution of the cystforming dinoflagellate Polarella glacialis. Polar Biology 26: 186-194.(SCI:1.69)
  25. Orsini, L., Sarno D., Procaccini G., Poletti R., Dahlmann J. & Montresor M. (2002) Toxic Pseudonitzschia multistriata (Bacillariophyceae) from the Gulf of Naples: morphology, toxin analysis and phylogenetic relationships with other Pseudonitzschia species. European Journal of Phycology, 37: 247-257. (SCI: 1.9)
  26. Procaccini G., Ruggiero M.V. & Orsini L. (2002) Genetic structure and distribution of microsatellite diversity in Posidonia oceanica over the whole Mediterranean basin. Bulletin of Marine Science 71:1291-1297 (SCI: 1.4)

B. Reviews and opinion papers

  1. Orsini L. Schwenk K., De Meester L. Colbourne J.K. Pfrender M. & Weider L. J(2013)The evolutionary time machine: forecasting how populations can adapt to changing environments using dormant propagules. Trends in ecology and evolution(Invited opinion paper) 28: 274-282(SCI: 15.4; cited 6)
  2. Orsini L. Vanoverbeke J, Swillen I, Mergeay J. and De Meester (2013) Drivers of population genetic differentiation in the wild: isolation by dispersal limitation, isolation by adaptation and isolation by colonization Molecular Ecology (Invited review) 22: 5983-5999 (SCI: 6.3)
  3. Orsini L. Andrew R. & Eizaguirre C. Evolutionary ecological genomics.(2013) Molecular Ecology. (editorial piece for the special issue on Evolutionary Ecological Genomics, eds Orsini, L., Andrew, R. and Eizaguirre, C.)22: 527-531 (SCI 6.3)

C. Book chapters with peer review

  1. Amato A. & Orsini L. (2009)The eco-genomics of phytoplankton: an outlook on the future. In: Kersey, W. T. and Munger, S. P. (Eds.), Marine Phytoplankton. NOVA Publisher ISBN: 978-1-60741-087-4.
  2. Orsini L., Acunto S., Piazzi L. & Procaccini G. (2001). Sexual reproduction and recruitment in Posidonia oceanica (L.) Delile, a genetic diversity study. In: Faranda, F.M. Guglielmo L. and Spezie G. (Eds.), Mediterranean Ecosystem: Structures and Processes. Springer-Verlag , Berlin Heidelberg. Cap. 50: 385-389.

D. Non SCI journals

  1. Ruggiero M.V., Orsini L. & Procaccini G. (2001). Depth related genetic structure in populations of endemic and introduced seagrass species: Posidonia oceanica and Halophila stipulacea. Biologia Marina Mediterranea, 8: 110.
  2. Procaccini G., Orsini L. & Ruggiero M.V. (2000) Genetic structure and distribution of microsatellite diversity in Posidonia oceanica. Biologia Marina Mediterranea, 7 (2): 115-118.
  3. D'Esposito D., Dattolo E., Badalamenti F., Orsini L. & Procaccini G. (2012) Comparative analysis of genetic diversity of Posidonia oceanica along a depth gradient using neutral and selective/non neutral microsatellite markers, Biologia Marina Mediterranea 19 (1): 45-48.