Alberto Valero Gracia

Alberto Valero-Gracia 2

ESR in Arnone’s Lab, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy

Project summary

My research is focused on larval photoreceptor cell evolution taking as model organism the sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, an animal to compare with key representatives of both Echinodermata and Hemicordata clades. Central issues of my work concern opsin-expressing cells evolution inside these groups contextualized within the non-canonical nervous system of Ambulacraria. The approach comprises interspecific comparisons on molecular, morphological and functional levels. This combined knowledge will allow us to shed light into the evolutionary history of Deuterostomia vision.

Research interests

Since I was a child I was impressed with the sea life, a passion encouraged by the professors of zoology and genetics from the University Autónoma de Madrid (Spain) where I graduated in Biology in 2013. Contemporaneously to the obtaining of my bachelor, I reinforced my studies by taking different courses mainly at Lomonosov Moscow State University (Russia), Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza” (Italy) and Washington State University (USA).
Currently I am a PhD candidate of the Open University of London (UK) working at Dr. Arnone’s laboratory (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Italy; www.tinyurl.com/arnone-lab).
After that, I would like to work in the field of Evolutionary and Developmental Biology, specially in the keystone topics of bauplan and complex life cycle evolution.