Loesgen Lab Welcomes Dr. Federica Montesanto

Loesgen Lab Welcomes Dr. Federica Montesanto

Published: Friday, June 23, 2023

Please welcome Dr. Federica Montesanto to the Whitney Laboratory!  She recently joined the Loesgen Lab as a Postdoctoral Research Associate. 

Federica completed her B.S. in Biological Science and then pursued a Master’s in Marine Biology, at the Polytechnic University of Marche (Italy). Her B.S thesis focused on diatoms' physiology, while her Master's thesis explored the formation of coralligenous habitats in a marine protected area along the Italian coast.

To further delve into her interest in marine invertebrates, Federica embarked on a Ph.D. in Marine Zoology and Molecular Biology. Her research revolved around integrated taxonomy, encompassing the taxonomy, phylogenetic reconstruction, and bioprospection of secondary metabolites production in ascidians (Tunicata, Ascidiacea). To collect diverse ascidian species, she conducted her project across four biological stations in France, Spain, Greece, and Israel. Recognizing the potential of ascidians as a source of secondary metabolites, Federica also undertook an internship at the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Athens, Greece.

During her Ph.D. and subsequent postdoctoral work at the University of Nebraska, Federica developed a growing interest in microbial communities. Indeed, she conducted research on the microbial communities associated with the red algae Porphyra purpurea and freshwater fish gut microbiomes.

Now, at Loesgen Lab, Federica will combine her passion for invertebrates and microbial communities by studying the microbiome of the upside-down jellyfish Cassiopea xamachana. Specifically, Federica will employ metagenomics to characterize the bacterial and fungal communities associated with Cassiopea different life stages to unravel how the interaction between the cnidarian and its microbiome changes during critical developmental transitions.

Outside of her scientific pursuits, Federica finds joy in immersing herself in nature through activities like hiking, paddling, diving, and cherishing moments with friends and her dog Leopoldo.