Cecilia has recently completed her DPhil at the University of Oxford. Since October 2015 she has been working as post-doctoral researcher in Professor Colin Brownlee’s group, on a project funded by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. The aim of the project is to develop a successful method for the genetic transformation of eukaryotic microalgae within the Haptophyta division. It is hoped that this will enable the study of gene function in the future.
Cecilia’s DPhil focused on the genetic plasticity assessment of extant Emiliania huxleyi (coccolithophore) wild populations on both temporal and spatial scales. The aim was to examine how the rapidly changing climate may change this species relative abundance in microbial communities, determining how certain genotypes will be always present while others will go extinct. As part of this she participated in three scientific cruises conducted in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.She collected environmental samples, from which she established a large culture collection of more than 300 clonal strains of E. huxleyi.