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Dr Cavodeassi joined St. George’s in 2017. Her research focuses on understanding the genetic causes underlying eye congenital malformations. Her educational roles as part of the team in the Centre for Biomedical Education involve curriculum development, pastoral duties and undergraduate research supervision. She is also Postgraduate Coordinator at the Institute for Medical and Biomedical Education, and a Joint Member of the Molecular & Clinical Sciences Research Institute.

Dr Cavodeassi trained at the Madrid Autonoma University, in Spain, where she was awarded a PhD in Molecular Biology in 2000. During her PhD studies she acquired extensive expertise on genetics, molecular and developmental biology studying pattern formation in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, one of the most versatile models for developmental biology studies. After her PhD Dr Cavodeassi moved to University College London (UCL) to join Steve Wilson’s laboratory, where she mastered the use of the zebrafish to pursue neurodevelopmental studies, acquiring extensive training in embryo manipulation and imaging techniques. From 2012 to 2017 Dr Cavodeassi held a group leader position at the Centro de Biología Molecular Severo Ochoa (CBMSO). Her work during those years established the foundations of her current research interests, focused on understanding the genetic causes of ocular malformations.

Even though prior to joining St. George’s her career was mostly research-oriented, Dr Cavodeassi also found opportunities to become involved in teaching and student supervision, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. Her current role at St. George’s has expanded her education portfolio allowing her to extensively contribute to teaching, curriculum development, assessment and feedback and supervision. Since 2019, Dr Cavodeassi holds a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).

Dr Cavodeassi is member of the British Society for Developmental Biology (BSDB), the Spanish Society for Developmental Biology (SEBD) and the EUFishBioMed Society.

Our research aims at identifying novel genes important for eye formation and involved in ocular malformations. For this purpose, we use the zebrafish as a model organism. The zebrafish has become increasingly popular to study embryonic development and model human disease due to their easy maintenance, short embryogenesis and the many tools developed in recent years to manipulate gene activity.

We use state of the art gene editing approaches to generate genetically modified zebrafish strains in genes involved in eye formation and patterning. Our current research, funded by the Wellcome Trust and Fight for Sight, exploits these mutant strains to advance our understanding of the gene networks controlling eye formation, and to identify genes involved in ocular malformations.

We have generated several mutant strains in the gene frizzled5, a gene previously identified by us, important for eye formation. frizzled5 loss of function mutants are predisposed to developing eye malformations such as microphthalmia and coloboma. We are exploiting these mutants to identify novel genes working together with frizzled5 during eye development, and potentially involved in the aetiology of microphthalmia and coloboma.

We have generated a mutant strain in a gene essential for the formation of a part of the retina involved in high acuity vision. By comparing the transcriptome of mutant and normal retinae, we aim at expanding our understanding of the genetic network controlling high acuity vision in the zebrafish.

A complete list of publications can be found at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Cavodeassi

Selected primary research publications

Maria Hernández-Bejarano, Gaia Gestri, Clinton Monfries, Lisa Tucker, Elena I Dragomir, Isaac H Bianco, Paola Bovolenta, Steve W Wilson and Florencia Cavodeasi (2022). Foxd1 dependent induction of temporal retinal character is required for visual function. BioRxiv. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.05.12.491645.

Powell GT, Zhao Y, Faro A, Stickney H, Novelladesmunt L, Henriques P, Gestri G, Redhouse-White E, Ren J, Lu W, Young RM, Hawkins TA, Schwartz Q, Cavodeassi F, Dreosti E, Gurney A, Raible DW, Li V, Wright GJ, Jones EY and Wilson SW (2022). Cachd1 is a novel Frizzled- and LRP6-interacting protein required for neurons to acquire left-right asymmetric character. BioRxiv. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2022.05.16.492129.

Tania Moreno-Mármol, Mario Ledesma-Terrón, Noemí Tabanera, Maria José Martin-Bermejo, Marcos J Cardozo, Florencia Cavodeassi and Paola Bovolenta. Stretching of the retinal pigment epithelium contributes to zebrafish optic cup morphogenesis (2021). eLife, vol. 10, e63396.

Rodrigo M. Young, Florencia Cavodeassi, Thomas A. Hawkins, Heather L. Stickney, Quenten P. Schwartz, Lisa M. Lawrence, Claudia Wierzbicki, Gaia Gestri, Elisabeth Mayela Ambrosio, Allison Klosner, Jasmine Rowell, Isaac H. Bianco, Miguel L. Allende and Stephen W. Wilson (2019). Compensatory mechanisms render Tcf7l1a dispensable for eye formation despite its requirement in eye field specification. eLife, vol. 8, e40093.

María Hernández-Bejarano, Gaia Gestri, Lana Spawls, Francisco Nieto-López, Alexander Picker, Masazumi Tada, Michael Brand, Paola Bovolenta, Stephen W. Wilson*, and Florencia Cavodeassi(2015). Opposing Shh and Fgf signals initiate nasotemporal patterning of the retina. Development, vol. 142, pgs 3933-3942. *Corresponding author.

Florencia Cavodeassi*, Kenzo Ivanovitch and Stephen W. Wilson* (2013). Eph/Ephrin signalling maintains the segregation of eye field cells from adjacent neural plate territories during forebrain morphogenesis. Development, vol. 140, pgs 4193-4202. *Corresponding author.

Kenzo Ivanovitch, Florencia Cavodeassi* and Stephen W. Wilson* (2013). Precocious acquisition of neuroepithelial character in the eye field underlies the onset of eye morphogenesis. Developmental Cell, vol. 27, pgs 293-305. *Corresponding author.

Florencia Cavodeassi, Filipa Carreira-Barbosa, Rodrigo M. Young, Miguel L. Concha, Miguel L. Allende, Corinne Houart, Masazumi Tada and Stephen W. Wilson (2005). “Early stages of zebrafish eye formation require the coordinated activity of Wnt11, Fz5 and the Wnt/ß-catenin pathway”. Neuron, vol. 47, pgs 43-56.

Selected review articles and book chapters

Florencia Cavodeassi and Steve Wilson (2019). Looking to the future of zebrafish as amodel to understand the genetic basis of eye disease. Hum Genet doi: 10.1007/s00439-019-02055-z

Tania Moreno-Mármol, Florencia Cavodeassi and Paola Bovolenta (2018). Setting eyes on the retinal pigment epithelium. Front Cell Dev Biol, vol. 6, 145. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2018.00145

Florencia Cavodeassi, Sophie Creuzet and Heather C. Etchevers (2018). The Hedgehog pathway and ocular developmental anomalies. Hum Genet doi: 10.1007/s00439-018-1918-8

Florencia Cavodeassi (2018). Dynamic tissue rearrangements during eye morphogenesis: insights from fish models. J. Dev. Biol., vol. 6(1). pii: E4. http://www.mdpi.com/2221-3759/6/1/4

Juan-Ramón Martínez-Morales, Florencia Cavodeassi and Paola Bovolenta (2017). Coordinated morphogenetic mechanisms shape the vertebrate eye. Front. Neurosci., vol. 11, 721.

Florencia CavodeassiTania Moreno-Mármol, María Hernández-Bejarano and Paola Bovolenta (2016). “Principles of vertebrate early forebrain formation”. In: Organogenetic Gene Networks. (expected publication date September 2016)

Florencia Cavodeassi, Raquel Marco-Ferreres, Ivan Conte and Paola Bovolenta (2016). “Eye: Embryology and Early Patterning”. In: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology, Oxford, Elsevier Ltd.

Florencia Cavodeassi, Marika Kapsimali, Stephen W. Wilson and Rodrigo M. Young (2009). “Forebrain: Early Development”. In: Squire, L.R. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Neuroscience, vol. 4, pgs 321-325 Oxford, Academic Press. (Updated in 2015 for inclusion in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Psychology, Oxford, Elsevier Ltd.).

Dr Cavodeassi’s research is funded by the Wellcome Trust and Fight for Sight.

Dr. Cavodeassi is supported in her research by Dr. Clinton Monfries. The group hosts on a regular basis undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Collaborators:

Dr Daniel Osborn (St. George's, University of London, UK)

Dr Yalda Jamshidi (St. George's, University of London, UK)

Dr Alan Pittman (St. George's, University of London, UK)

Prof. Stephen W. Wilson (University College London, UK)

Dr. Isaac H Bianco (University College London, UK)

Prof. Paola Bovolenta (Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain)

 

Dr Cavodeassi participates in a diversity of activities directed at Biomedical Science students:

  • She co-leads with other colleagues the Structured Research Projects and Development & Disease modules, directed at 3rd Year MSci, Intercalated and Biomedical Science students;
  • She delivers lectures, practical sessions and tutorials in several 2nd and 3rd year modules;
  • She is involved in curriculum development, generation of assessment items, feedback and marking;
  • She is personal tutor for Biomedical Science students;
  • She supervises undergraduate Research Project students.

Dr Cavodeassi is Postgraduate Coordinator at the Institute for Medical and Biomedical Education.

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