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Research interests

The main goal of my research is to understand the origin and evolution of body plans in bilateral organisms and the molecular pathways involved in generating this diversity.  In particular, my studies are focused on the signaling pathways that regulate body asymmetries with respect to the bilateral axis, i.e., the axis that divides the left and right sides of the body.  As model organisms, I study spiralians, a group of metazoans that includes mollusks, annelids, nemerteans and other marine invertebrates that together are characterized by the oblique orientation of the cleavage planes with respect to the animal-vegetal pole during development.  In contrast with this shared, stereotyped cleavage program, the subsequent morphogenesis will give rise to a great variety of body plans and bilateral asymmetries in these organisms.  Understanding how this great variation is generated constitutes an interesting question that can now be addressed with a combination of embryological and genomic approaches.