Fabrizio Ghiselli


January 2017 – present: Fixed-Term Senior Assistant Professor, RTDb (University of Bologna) [see Personal webpage at University of Bologna]

March 2014 – January 2017: Fixed-Term Junior Assistant Professor, RTDa (University of Bologna)

2012 – 2014: Senior Postdoctoral Research Associate (University of Bologna)

2010 – 2012: Postoctoral Research Associate (University of Bologna)

April 2010: PhD Biodiversity and Evolution [grade: Excellent] (University of Bologna)

October 2006: MSc Natural Science [grade: 110/110 summa cum laude] (University of Bologna)




I am a Senior Assistant Professor (RTDb) of Zoology and I work in the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna (Italy). On 28 March 2017 I obtained the national scientific qualification to function as Associate Professor of Zoology (starting January 2020 upon evaluation).

I graduated (summa cum laude) with a MSc in Natural Science in October 2006, and I completed my PhD in Biodiversity and Evolution in April 2010. Since 2007, year of my first publication, I authored 32 manuscripts in Journals with Impact Factor such as: Molecular Biology and Evolution, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Molecular Ecology, Trends in Genetics, Genome Biology and Evolution.

My scientific career started with the internship for my MSc, when I worked on the karyological and molecular characterization of an Iberian stick-insect species complex, focusing on subjects such as polyploidy, hybridization, parthenogenesis, and reticulate evolution. My MSc thesis work was published in Molecular Ecology (Ghiselli et al. 2007).

During the first year of PhD, mitochondrial biology became my main research topic, and I started focusing
on the evolutionary and functional genomics of nuclear-mitochondrial interactions, specifically, I most of my work concerned the Doubly Uniparental Inheritance (DUI) of mitochondria, an unusual biological system as yet identified in about 100 species of bivalve molluscs.
I developed a multiplex Real-Time qPCR assay to quantify simultaneously the copy number of F- and M-mtDNA in somatic tissues, gonads, gametes, and embryos of the Manila clam, Ruditapes philippinarum. During 2009, the last year of my PhD, I spent 5 months as Visiting Scholar in the Nuzhdin Lab (Molecular and Computational Biology Program, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA), where I was introduced to RNA-Seq and where I performed the first transcriptomic study of mitochondrial inheritance and sex determination in bivalves. The results of both the main topics of my PhD thesis (qPCR and RNA-Seq) were published in Molecular Biology and Evolution (Ghiselli et al. 2011Ghiselli et al. 2012).

During my 4 years as a postdoc, following the experience of 2009, I spent 10 more months as Visiting Scientist in the Nuzhdin Lab, during which I became familiar with High-Throughput Sequencing technologies, learning how to obtain, handle and analyze ’big data’, and developing specific skills such as experimental design, library preparation, sequencing, and data analysis. I also learned R and UNIX shell scripting, and how to work with a high performance computing cluster.

In October 2013 I was awarded with a Futuro in Ricerca (FIR/FIRB) grant (EUR 233,087 direct), a highly competitive grant for young researchers funded by the Italian Ministry of Education, University, and Research. The success rate of the “Starting” Line in 2013 was 1.7%. The project title was ”Mitochondrial Inheritance and Biogenesis: Functional and Evolutionary Aspects”, and its goal was to study mitochondrial biology using R. philippinarum as a model system. I was the Principal Investigator, the grant started in March 2014 and ended in March 2017.

I have recently started the Bivalve Genomics research line and I am involved in several projects in collaboration with Labs in Padova (Italy), USA, Canada, Russia, UK, and Spain. My research is integrated in a comparative framework to study evolutionary and applied genomics of bivalve molluscs. Accordingly, I am also involved in the Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance (GIGA), and I am one of the organizers of the upcoming international Meeting that will be held in Curaçao in October.

I am organizer and co-chair of the Symposium “Linking the mitochondrial genotype to phenotype: a complex endeavour” at the upcoming SMBE 2018 Meeting in Yokohama (Japan).

teach Animal Biology for the BSc program in Natural Science, Genome Evolution and Molecular Evolution for the MSc program in Biodiversity and Evolution, and Biological Evolution for the Collegio Superiore (the school of Excellence of the University of Bologna).
Starting from this year, I am a Member of the Academic Board of the newly introduced PhD Program in “Innovative Technologies and Sustainable use of Mediterranean Sea Fishery and Biological Resources (FISHMED-PhD)” based in the Laboratory of Marine Biology and Fisheries in Fano. For this Program I will teach the course of “High-Throughput Sequencing: Methods and Data Analysis”.



Right now my research work is focused on producing and analyzing genomic and transcriptomic data of R. philippinarum, and other bivalve species. I am currently collaborating on multiple projects with Labs in Italy, USA, Canada, Russia, UK, and Spain. All the obtained data are used in a comparative framework to study bivalve genomics from an evolutionary point of view; for this purpose, I am also involved in the Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance (GIGA).
I am also continuing working on mitochondrial biology, especially on mito-nuclear coevolution.



    • Genome structure and organization
    • Evolution of sex determination systems, and characterization of sex-determining genes
    • Characterization and evolution of sperm/egg recognition and chemotaxis in broadcast spawning animals
    • Effects of chemical contamination and adaptation to environmental changes
    • Biomineralization
    • Coevolution and coordination of gene expression between organellar and nuclear genomes
    • Effects of heteroplasmy on mito-nuclear interactions
    • Characterization and evolution of aerobic and anaerobic energy metabolism
    • Population genetics of mtDNA and nature of the mitochondrial bottleneck
    • Role of mitochondria in germ line formation
    • Mitochondrial activity in gametogenesis and free radical damage
    • Meiosis, Reproduction and Genome Evolution
    • Karyological and molecular characterization of mitosis and meiosis in somatic and germ cells
    • Molecular characterization of European ant species with mitochondrial markers




    • Liliana Milani – Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna (Italy)
    • Sergey V. Nuzhdin – Program in Molecular and Computational Biology, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles (USA)
    • Sophie Breton – Department of Biological Sciences, Université de Montréal (Canada)
    • Aleksey Komissarov – Theodosius Dobzhansky Center for Genome Bioinformatics, St. Petersburg State University (Russia)
    • Massimo Milan – Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science, University of Padova (Italy)
    • Luca Bargelloni – Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science, University of Padova (Italy)
    • Tomaso Patarnello – Department of Comparative Biomedicine and Food Science, University of Padova (Italy)
    • Joseph P. Dunham – Chief Science Officer, Co-Founder SeqOnce Biosciences Inc, Pasadena, CA (USA)
    • Maria Gabriella Maurizii – Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences, University of Bologna (Italy)
    • David Skibinski – Swansea University Medical School, Swansea University (UK)
    • Angel Pérez Diz – Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Immunology, University of Vigo (Spain)
    • Don Stewart – Department of Biology, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia (Canada)