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

My research aims to identify evolutionary responses of aquatic organisms to climatic and other anthropogenic changes and predict species adaptive potential, 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. One of the most fascinating aspects of D. magna life cycle is the production of dormant embryos in response to environmental hardship. These embryos accumulate in sedimentary archives where they can remain in suspended animation for decades or even centuries. I use them as a resource to study evolutionary trajectories through time in response to environmental change.

Qualifications

  • 2017 - Director of the Environmental Omics Sequencing Facility, University of Birmingham
  • 2016 – Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK
  • 2003 - PhD, University of Messina/Stazione Zoologica A. Dohrn Naples, Italy
  • 1999 - Master in Environmental Science, Istituto Universitario Navale, Naples, Italy

Biography

  • 2013 – tenure - Lecturer in BioSystems and Environmental Change, Environmental Genomics Group, School of Biosciences, University of Birmingham. 
  • 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
  • 1999-2003 - PhD in Biology  Stazione Zoologica “A. Dohrn”; Naples, Italy
  • 1999 - Master in Environmental Sciences, Istituto Universitario Navale, Naples,Italy (received with honour).

Teaching

Module leader in “Toxicology for the 21st century” (Master in Toxicology). I redesigned this module involving industry (Unilever) and the Centre for Computational Biology at the University of Birmingham in delivering teaching. The new module provides cutting-edge high throughput toxicology training to increase employability. The collaboration with industry is likely to lead to future collaborations around environmental health.

Module leader in Year in Continental Europe. I updated this module in 2015 liaising with the international office at UoB. The module is now conformed to the audit requirements from the EU and counts a much higher and happier number of students.

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

Postdocs

  1. 2017-ongoing: Albert Zhou, Computer scientist working on deCODE (Cracking the Code of Adaptive Evolution using biological archives)
  2. 2017-ongoing: Vignesh Dhandapani, Bioinfromatichan working on deCODE (Cracking the Code of Adaptive Evolution using biological archives)
  3. 2017-ongoing: Timothy Williams, ecotoxicologist working on deCODE (Cracking the Code of Adaptive Evolution using biological archives)

PhD students

  1. 2005-2009 - Helena Wirta Koivuletho: Dung beetle radiations in Madagascar; Biology, University of Helsinki, Finland.
  2. 2010-2013 - Daniela D'Esposito: The molecular signature for local adaptation in the seagrass Posidonia oceanica, Biology, The Open University.
  3. 2009-2015 - Aurora Geerts:  Genetic variation and rapid evolution of thermal tolerance in the water flea Daphnia,  Biology, University of Leuven, Belgium.
  4. 2010-ongoing - Katina Spanier: A pipeline for candidate gene locus identification in the waterflea Daphnia magna- development and validation, Biology, University of Leuven, Belgium.
  5. 2014-ongoing - Maria Cuenca Cambronero: Past, present and future of anthropogenic impact on the keystone specie Daphnia magna, Biosciences, University of Birmingham
  6. 2015-ongoing- Rosemary Barnett: The molecular mechanisms of diapause in D. magna, Biosciences, University of Birmingham:

Master students

  1. 2001 – 2002: - Alberto Amato: Dynamics of Marine Ecosystems; Stazione Zoological A. Dohrn, Naples, Italy
  2. 2014-2015: MSci, Hollie Marshal: Temporal genetic stability and fitness responses to human driven eutrophication in the waterflea Daphnia magna, Biosciences, University of Birmingham
  3. 2015-2016 MSci, Peter Osborne: Investigating the role of genomic structural variation in the evolution of heat tolerance in Daphnia magna; master in Toxicology, Biosciences, University of Birmingham.
  4. 2016 May –August: MSc, Simon Lee: Cracking the code of suspended animation; master  in Toxicology, Biosciences, University of Birmingham.
  5. 2016 September-2017 February MSci, Lisa King: Characterization of Daphnia magna microbiome under environmental stress; Biological Science, University of Leister

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
  • Forecasting adaptive responses to future global change

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

Other activities

Invited Lecture/Lecture Series

  • Genetics and genomics in ecology: concepts and applications Master class in evolutionary Ecology, University of Leuven, Belgium. 25th-26th May 2011
  • Approaches and molecular tools to study adaptation in natural populations University of Cologne, Germany. 31st May-1st June, 2011.
  • Bottom-up to top-down approaches to study selection, adaptation and evolution. PhD course University of Parma, Italy. 18th May 2010.
  • PhD course in Population genetics and Phylogeny in Marine systems. Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Napoli, Italy. 5th-8th October, 2009.
  • The use of Molecular markers in ecology and evolution. Lecture within the undergraduate course in Biology, University of Leuven, Belgium. 22nd April 2009 
  • Molecular ecology: the study of ecology and evolution with molecular markers. Master class in Biology, University of Leuven, Belgium. 27th  April 2009 
  • Graduate course in Conservation Biology in Fragmented Landscapes. Inbreeding in captive and wild populations: case studies and implication for conservation, University of Helsinki, Finland.6th-23rd November 2006.
  • Molecular markers and their application in molecular ecology. In: Molecular Ecology. University of Helsinki, Finland. 3rd November 2006.
  • The use of genetic markers in population genetics. Lecture and laboratory practice, University of Helsinki, Finland. 15th September 2006
  • Microsatellite evolution.University of Helsinki, Finland11th November 2005.
  • Cloning course. Cloning tool: how, why, to address what questions.University of Helsinki, Finland. 25th -27th January 2005
  • Graduate course in Conservation Biology in Fragmented Landscapes. Population genetics in fragmented landscapes. University of Helsinki, Finland.14th October 2004
  • Lecture within the PhD program of the Open University. Microsatellites: a powerful tool to infer phylogeny, phylogeography and population structure. Stazione Zoologica ‘A. Dohrn’, Naples, Italy20th May 2004

Citizenship

  • Manager of the Environmental Omics facility at the University of Birmimgham
  • Editor of the special issue on Evolutionary Ecological genomics, Molecular Ecology Wiley
  • Grant evaluator for (NSERC, Canada) and (BBSRC, UK).
  • Member of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology
  • Reviewer for Molecular, Ecology, Global Change Biology, Heredity, Journal of Animal Biology among others.

Commissions Of Trust

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
  • Open days Biosciences University of Birmingham
  • Invited panel expert on a Climate Change debate by Enactus Birmingham an association that creates sustainable and empowering social enterprises, using entrepreneurial skills to improve the livelihoods of people in need

Partitipation In International Conferences

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

  1. Tales of a living fossil: from evolution to past environmental stress to persistence to future global change. 2nd Finnish Molecular Ecology and Evolution conference,  12-14 October 2016; Lammi Biological Station, University of Helsinki, Finland
  2. A revolutionary way to reconstruct evolutionary dynamics in nature over centuries. 
  3. The International Biogeography Society, Bayreuth, Germany, 9-11 January 2015
  4. A revolutionary way to reconstruct evolutionary dynamics in nature over centuries. Prodiversa symposium: workshop on population genetics and intraspecific diversity of aquatic protists 27-28 August 2014, Tjarno, Sweden
  5. Environmental PALEO-genomics: using dormant propagules to FORECAST how natural populations can adapt to environmental change. Adapting to Global Change in the Mediterranean conference, 18-20 September, 2013 Seville
  6. How to live in a mosaic of stressors – an ecological genomics approach on the water flea Daphnia. SETAC North America 31st Annual Meeting. 7-11 November 2010. Portland, Oregon, USA.  

Invited Seminars

  • Evolutionary time traveling: resurrecting the past to deal with the future.University of Leicester. 22nd March 2017
  • Forecasting species persistence to future global change by learning from past evolutionary dynamics, University of Helsinki, Finland.11th October 2016
  • Only time can tell: studying long-term evolutionary dynamics using biological archives. Hull University, UK. 11th Match 2016
  • Only time can tell: studying long-term evolutionary dynamics using biological archives. University of Goteborg, Sweden. 24th September 2015
  • Only time can tell: studying long-term evolutionary dynamics using biological archives Natural History Museum London, UK 26th June 2015
  • The past is the key to the future: developing a paleogenomic approach to link population dynamics to environmental change. The mighty daphnia, past present and future DGC 20140Birmingham, UK 19-22 January 2014.
  • Genomic signature of selection in a geographic mosaic of environmental stressors. Eawag, Switzerland 14th  April 2011
  • Genomic signature of selection in a geographic mosaic of environmental stressors. University of Sheffield, UK 31st March, 2011.
  • Ecological genomics in space and time: the signature of natural selection in wild populations of the water flea, Daphnia magna. University of Parma, Italy. 19th May, 2010.
  • Metapopulation genetic structure of the Glanville fritillary butterfly, a well-known model system in population biologythe Stazione Zoologica ‘A. Dohrn’, Naples, Italy. 11th September 2006 

Publications

My current H-index is 19 with 1,251 citations in January 2017 (source: ResearchGate)

A. Refereed papers in primary international peer reviewed journals

  1. Haileselasie, T. H., Mergeay, J., Vanoverbeke, J. Orsini, L. & Luc De Meester (2017). Founder effects determine the genetic structure of the water flea Daphnia in Ethiopian reservoirs. (accepted  in Limnology & Oceanography; SCI 4.2)
  2. Jansen, M, Geerts, A. N. Rago, A. Spanier, K.I. Denis, C. De Meester, L. & Orsini, L. Thermal tolerance in the water flea Daphnia magna– a candidate gene and a genome scan approach (2017) Molecular Ecology; SCI 6) DOI: 10.1111/mec.14040
  3. Asselman, J.; De Coninck, D.; Beert, E.; Janssen, C.; Orsini, L.; Decaestecker, E.; Pfrender, M.; & De Schamphelaere, K. (2016) Bisulfite sequencing with Daphnia highlights a role for epigenetics in regulating Microcystis stress response through preferential differential methylation of serine and threonine amino acids. Environmental Science & Technology (SCI 5.4).
  4. D’Esposito, D. Orrù, L Dattolo, E. Bernardo, L. Lamontara, A. Orsini, L. Serra, I. A. Mazzuca, S. & Procaccini, G. (2016) Annotation of “de novo” transcriptome in the seagrass Posidonia oceanica and SSR markers development Scientific Data, Nature Group, (first SCI in 2017).
  5. Orsini, L. Marshall, H. Cuenca Cambronero, M. Chaturvedi, A. Thomas, K. W. Pfrender, M. E. Spanier, K. I. & De Meester, L.(2016) Temporal genetic stability in natural populations of the waterflea Daphnia magna in response to strong selection pressure  Molecular Ecology, 25: 6024–6038(SCI: 6)
  6. 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. Frilander M.J. (2016) Daphnia magna transcriptome by RNA-Seq across 12 environmental stressors. Scientific Data, Nature Group doi:10.1038/sdata.2016.30. (first SCI in 2017).
  7. Amato, A. and Orsini, L. Rare interspecific breeding in Pseudo-nitzschia (Bacillariophyceae). Phytotaxa, (2015) 217: 145-154 (SCI1.8)
  8. 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)
  9. 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)
  10. 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)
  11. 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.
  12. 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)
  13. 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)
  14. Orsini L., Decaestecker E., De Meester L. Pfrender. M. E. & Colbourne J.K. (2010) Genomics in the ecological arena. Biology Letters (SCI:3.8)
  15. 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)
  16. 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)
  17. 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)
  18. 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)
  19. 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
  20. Orsini L. Koivulehto H. & Hanski I. (2007) Molecular Evolution and Radiation of Dung Beetles in Madagascar. Cladistics 23: 145-168. (SCI: 5.0).
  21. 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)
  22. 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)
  23. 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)
  24. 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)
  25. Orsini L. Huttunen S. & Schlötterer C. (2004) A multilocus microsatellite phylogeny of the Drosophila virilis group. Heredity 93: 161-165. (SCI: 4.1)
  26. 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)
  27. 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)
  28. 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)
  29. 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)
  30. 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)
  31. 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.

E. Papers under review

  1. Orsini L., Brown J. B., Shams Solari O., Li D., He S., Podicheti R., Stoiber M.H., Spanier K. I., Gilbert G., Jansen M., Rusch D., Pfrender M. E., Colbourne J. K., Frilander M. J., Kvist J., Decaestecker E., De Schamphelaere K. A. C. & De Meester L.Early transcriptional responses pathways in Daphnia magna are coordinated in networks of lineage specific genes.
  2. Cuenca Cambronero M., Marshall H., De Meester L., Davidson T.A., Beckerman A. P. & Orsini L. Forecasting species persistence to future global change by learning from past evolutionary dynamics
  3. Jahnke M, D’ Esposito D., Orrù L., Lamontanara A., Mazzuca S., Procaccini G. & Orsini L. Adaptive responses to environmental change in the endemic seagrass Posidonia oceanica
  4. Cuenca Cambronero M, Zeis B. Orsini, L Haemoglobin-mediated response to hyper-thermal stress in the keystone species Daphnia magna