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AIEC PhDs and Post-Docs

Rita Alves Costa-PhD

INSTITUTION: Comparative Endocrinology and Integrative Biology,

Center of Marine Sciences, Portugal 

SUPERVISOR: Deborah M Power

TITLE: Physiology of homeostasis and repair of skin in teleosts and the role of metabolic and endocrine factors 



Good tissue integrity is of vital importance for skin, which is the barrier between the external environment and the “internal milieu” and protects against fluid loss, physical trauma and invasion by harmful microbes. Integument damage triggers an inflammatory response and is rapidly repaired by dermal fibroblasts and keratinocytes. The cross-talk between the immune response, ECM turnover and endocrine factors maintain skin homeostasis and repair, although exactly how it occurs in vertebrates is uncertain and it is almost unstudied in teleosts. The present project will develop a comparative model of aging teleost skin versus young skin and will identify key factors underlying skin homeostasis and repair. Hormones and metabolites that ameliorate the effect of aging will be identified. The results will be relevant to biomedicine and applicable to fish aquaculture as integument damage and associated disease has significant consequences for animal welfare/survival, product quality and yield.

Alexssandro Geferson BeckerPost-Doc

INSTITUTION: Comparative Endocrinology and Integrative Biology, Center of Marine Sciences, Portugal


Pedro Miguel Guerreiro (Center of Marine Sciences, Portugal)

Adelino V.M. Canário (Center of Marine Sciences, Portugal)

Bernardo Baldisserotto (Federal University of Santa Maria, Brazil).

TITLE: Calcium and magnesium regulation in the kidney of glomerular and aglomerular fish: physiological and molecular characterisation.



The overall aims of this research are to elucidate the role of the piscine renal system in Ca2+ and Mg2+ homeostasis, the importance of environmental conditions and hormonal factors, namely PTHrP and STC1, and the characterization of sensing and transporting mechanisms for these ions in kidney.

Nadège Bjärnmark-Zaghdoudi-PhD

INSTITUTION: Comparative Endocrinology and Integrative Biology, Center of Marine Sciences, Portugal


Deborah M Power

João CR Cardoso

TITLE: Investigation of the regulatory mechanisms of shell formation in bivalves (Mollusca: Bivalvia)


Biomineralisation is a controlled physiological process whereby a living organism generates a mineralised structure from the synthesis of organic molecules. The minerals are naturally occurring, of inorganic origin and possess a crystalline structure, such as the calcite in shell. These structures can have multiple functions, including tissue support, protection from the external environment, feeding and sensing. The shells of molluscs are characteristic biomineralised structures with unique mechanical properties. At the forefront of this process, the mantle, the organ common to all molluscs, is a multi-functional highly muscular tissue in contact with the shell and envelops vital organs. In bivalves, the epithelial cells of the mantle secrete the external shell by a complex network of mechanisms that remain poorly understood. Phylum Mollusca is a highly successful and species-rich group of organisms, of ecological and socio-economic importance. Shellfish account for 22.8% of global aquaculture and mussels are the third most produced family. In addition, due to their sessile and filter-feeding qualities, mussels are also used in environmental monitoring programs as biological indicators of pollution and other changes to the marine environment, such as ocean acidification. Therefore, understanding the underlying mechanisms of biomineralisation and the effects of external stress are vital for the maintenance of food security, ecological stability and a sustainable shellfish industry.The aim of my work is to identify novel regulatory networks involved in biomineralisation of four commercially important bivalve species: the Mediterranean mussel, the Pacific oyster, the King scallop and the Soft-shelled clam. I will focus on the G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their associated ligands that are involved in shell formation and elucidate existing endocrine factors. This project is part of CACHE (Calcium in A Changing Envrionment) a Marie Curie Initial Training Network. If you would like to know more about the project please follows us on Twitter @CACHEITN or visit our website

Miguel Gómez Boronat-PhD

INSTITUTION: Universidad Complutense de Madrid, España.

SUPERVISORS: Esther Isorna Alonso, Nuria de Pedro Ormeño.

TITLE: Interactions between feeding regulators and the circadian system in goldfish.


It has been recently proposed the existence of new food intake regulators including endogenous lipid nature mediators, such as oleylethanolamide (OEA), which acts as a signal of satiety. The main objective of this PhD Thesis is the study the possible role of the OEA in the energy balance of fish, control of food intake and body weight, as well as to understand the possible interactions of this ethanolamide (which activates PPARs receptors) with the circadian system.

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