Neurobiology and Genetics

    Sara Colizzi

    Research Interest  

    Circadian clocks are internal endogenous oscillators present in most  organisms. They govern daily physiological and behavioral cycles.  It is known for a long time that the clock system can function on  longer time scales as well, controlling photoperiodical changes. These  changes occur when the day length gets shorter (or longer) and allow  the organisms to predict the beginning of a new season.  

    I am going to elucidate the role played by the circadian clock in the  induction of photoperiodical changes in aphids. These insects  drastically alter their reproductive behavior from asexual to sexual  in autumn (when days become shorter). They also anticipate the cold  season by adopting characteristic survival strategies until spring,  when favorable conditions return. Starting from the characterization  of the circadian clock, I will investigate the circadian behavior as  well as the spatiotemporal expression of the neuronal clock.  

    Aphids have prominent agricultural relevance since they are the main  insect crop pests in temperate regions. Understanding their circadian and photoperiodical biology might turn  out to be essential to control their growth.