LMME LAB MEMBERS
RAPHAEL AGUILLON, PH.D.
- Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication - (L. Da Vinci)
Trained as a developmental biologist in France, I like tackling big questions in small and apparent simple systems. During my Ph.D. at the Center of Integrative Biology, Paul Sabatier University in France, I combined long-term live-imaging and functional genetics to assess how cell identity and cell movement are coordinated during the early olfactory organ development in zebrafish larvae. My current research focuses on animals with one of the simplest and primitive nervous system – Cnidarians – by using two emerging models, Nematostella vectensis and Aiptasia Pellida, I study how cellular physiology and symbiosis could affect a behavioral state.
JOSEANE A. MARQUES
My Ph.D. research primarily investigates the effects of Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) on the physiology, biology, and behavior of corals. The increasing prevalence of anthropogenic light globally has significant consequences for various ecosystems and organisms. Through my research, I have observed disruptions in coral reproduction synchrony, decreased photosynthetic performance, and heightened oxygen stress due to ALAN.
Our ultimate aim is for the findings of our study to be utilized in urban planning efforts and the mitigation of light pollution in coastal regions. By understanding the specific impacts of ALAN on corals, we hope to contribute to informed decision-making and effective strategies for minimizing the detrimental effects of artificial light on marine ecosystems.
My main research topic examines the mechanisms of sleep in the upside-down jellyfish Cassiopea spp. Studying the correlation between behavior and the molecular level of sleep in Cassiopea spp. can help us understand the reasons for sleep throughout evolution. In my M.Sc., I studied the behavioral and neural correlates of the 'Sense of Self’ in humans in Dr. Roy Salomon’s lab at Bar-Ilan University. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) I was able to associate human brain activity with fundamental aspects of the 'Sense of Self' - the experience of identifying with the body and its actions.
I am investigating how the interaction between the sea anemone, Exaiptasia sp., and its symbiotic algae, Symbiodiniaceae, synchronizes the host circadian clock. I am using behavioral tracking, along with gene expression monitoring to study the role of oxygen as a major synchronization cue.
In my Ph.D., I aim to characterize sleep and wakefulness states in the coral reef fish Chromis viridis, using behavioral criteria in the aquarium and on the reef. This will allow us to examine the effect of Artificial Light at Night (ALAN) on sleep, DNA damage, repair during sleep, and wakefulness, in these common reef fish in the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba, Red Sea.
LEVIAH (SIMA) ZAND
My research focuses on annual biodiversity cycles in the Gulf of Eilat/Aqaba (GoE/A), Red Sea using different methods of environmental DNA (eDNA) capture and extraction.
My research is centered around developing solutions for reef restoration through the use of 3D printing technology. I compare different structure complexities to determine the optimal conditions for coral growth, resilience, and the enhancement of marine biodiversity.