Title: Seasonal clock in pea aphids

Wuerzburg smallHost Institution
: Würzburg University
SupervisorProf Charlotte Helfrich-Foerster
Contact: francesca.colizzi at
Start date: 1 June 2018
Secondment: Universidad de Valencia for 2 months to learn aphid biology and BCAS České Budějovice for two months to learn CRISPR/Cas9 technology.

Objectives: To discover the role played by the circadian clock in the induction of diapause in the pea aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. Circadian behaviour will be characterised as will neuronal clock gene expression both temporally and spatially. CRISPR/Cas9 mutagenesis will be used to investigate whether clock mutations disrupt diapause.


About me: I am an Italian student from Padua, a lively city in the north of the country, which hosts one of the eldest Universities in the world. I liked growing where the old faculties of Law, Medicine, Psychology and Biology attract students from all over the country making this city stimulating for the variety of exhibitions, concerts, festivals and conferences. I enjoyed them (as many as I could!) and developed my passion for dancing, playing music and Molecular Biology, which I attended both for bachelor and the master.
For my final thesis, I worked on the subject that I liked the most, Chronobiology. I spent seven months in a chronobiology lab in Munich, Germany, investigating the circadian clock of Bacillus subtilis. This bacterium is also part of the human gut microbiota and its clock is assumed to influence the human’s one. After this experience, I felt that Chronobiology was my way and Germany my nest.

This is why now I am happily living in Würzburg, approaching the new world of insects’ chronobiology. My role in CINCHRON is to elucidate the mechanism of the circadian clock in aphids and better understand its involvement in the seasonal clock. I look forward to collaborating with the other labs of CINCHRON, trying to live up to the project!