Jorge's Lab

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Prof. Jorge M. de Oliveira Fernandes
Prinicipal Investigator
I am a Professor in Genomics and Molecular Biology at the University of Nordland (Norway). In a nutshell, I am using molecular and genomic tools to study muscle growth and the innate immune system in teleosts. My main interests are domestication, antimicrobial peptides, microRNAs and the epigenetic regulation of gene networks by environmental factors. My research is aimed at commercially important species such as Nile tilapia, Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut, Atlantic salmon and Senegalese sole but I also use zebrafish as a convenient model species. I have an honorary professorship at the University of Messina (Italy) and I serve on the editorial board of the following international scientific journals: Marine Genomics, Fisheries Science and Acta Histochemica. I am also an academic editor for PLoS One and Scientific Reports.

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Dr. Jorge Galindo-Villegas
I got a BSc in Hydrobiology by the UAM, Mexico; MSc. in Aquaculture Nutrition by Kochi University, Japan, and PhD. in fish Immune-nutrition by Ehime University, Japan. Postdoctoral positions have been conducted in the Center for Advanced Marine Core Research, Japan studying deep sea fish genetics, and in Murcia University in Spain, where I worked for 10 years solely focused on immunology. So far, my research programs have been directed toward the development and functional application of immunostimulants, adjuvants and vaccines for high-valued marine fish species. Additionally, a parallel research line has been developed aiming to dissect host-microbe interactions and the mechanisms governing inflammatory development and progression using the zebrafish model reared under germ-free and conventional conditions. I also serve as an evaluator of international funding agencies, and on the editorial board of the Journals: Frontiers in Immunology, Aquaculture and International Journal of Functional Genomics.

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Dr. Anusha K.S. Dhanasiri
Currently, I am working as a post doc at FBA, Nord University. I obtained my bachelor's degree in Microbiology from University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka and I did both my master's and doctoral degree in Aquaculture at FBA, Nord University. I received a personal postdoctoral grant from the research council of Norway, under the ‘HAVBRUK’ program (Project EpiGreen, 2017-2019, NFR Ref. 267944). I am working in connection with the research project SafeFish (NFR ref: 254822) evaluating the effects of plant protein-based diets on the transcriptomic and global epigenetic alterations in the key organs related to growth performance and immunity using zebrafish as a model. This knowledge will be also extended to a commercially important species by testing selected molecular markers from the zebrafish model on on-growing Atlantic salmon fed with green diets.
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Dr. Tomasz Podgorniak
Born in Poland, I specialized in behavioral and evolutionary ecology (MSc at the University of Burgundy, PhD at IRSTEA & University of Bordeaux), working on shrimps, crayfishes, perch, European eel, Nile tilapia and with a wide array of research topics (biological invasions, sexual competition, migratory behavior, phenotypic plasticity, epigenetics). I like exploring different research fields in order to address a specific question. I am currently a post-doctoral member of the EPIFISH Project (Innovative Epigenetic Markers of Fish Domestication), studying the changes in epigenetic profiles (methylation & micro-RNA) associated with growth, within a context of selective breeding and domestication process of Nile tilapia.
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Prabhugouda Siriyappagouder
PhD student
Born in India, currently a PhD student and part-time technician at FBA, Nord University. I have obtained two Master’s degrees in Aquaculture, one from College of Fisheries, KVAFSU, Mangalore, India, another from Nord University, Norway. My PhD project focused on characterization of mycobiota (yeast/fungi) associated with wild and laboratory-reared zebrafish, revealing their possible functions in shaping the host microbiota as well as host response by employing the germ-free zebrafish model. This knowledge contributes to an increased understanding of the role played by mycobiota in fish under physiological and disease conditions.

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Qirui (Jerry) Zhang
PhD student
I have a Master degree in Developmental Biology from the Institute of Botany, at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Thereafter, I came to Norway to be trained as a PhD on Marine Genomics at Fernandes Lab. My current project is focused on determining the impact of temperature on the development and response of the immune system in teleost fish. For this purpose, I use the widely extended teleost model, the zebrafish (Danio rerio). I think this knowledge would be extremely meaningful in protecting fish from the threat of temperature fluctuations suffered by fish in aquaculture facilities.
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Ioannis Konstantinidis
PhD student
I have obtained my BA in Aquatic Sciences and MSc in Sustainable Management of Aquatic Resources at the University of Thessaly, Department of Ichthyology and Aquatic Environment, Volos, Hellas. I am currently in my third year of my PhD studies in biosciences in aquaculture, funded by the Nord University (FBA) and co-funded by the EPIFISH project. My research interest is the role of epigenetics in aquaculture in growth and disease. Currently I am mapping 5-hydroxymethylation (5hmC) profiles of wild and first generation of Nile tilapia that undergoes domestication. My goals are to identify epigenetic marks that could potentially play important roles in growth and development, as well as differences of 5hmC among several tissues. As a final part of my PhD, I will investigate whether these epigenetic marks are affecting the expression of key genes.

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Maria Renström
PhD student
PhD student currently working on the Epigenetic markers for fish domestication (EPIFISH) project at the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, Nord University in Bodø, Norway. I have obtained my specialist’s degree in Ecology (2014) from Northern Arctic Federal University (Arkhangelsk, Russia), and master’s degree in Marine ecology (2016) from Nord University. My master thesis was dedicated to studying the plasticity of the miRNA transcriptome in zebrafish and its possible interconnection with the immune response. In the EPIFISH project, I work on identification of potential epigenetic markers and mechanisms, controlling growth rate of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). More specifically my work is focused on the mitochondrial epigenome and studying of its possible alterations during the process of fish domestication.

Maryam Pourmoghadam
Visiting PhD student

Born in Iran, currently a PhD student at Tehran University, Iran. I have obtained my Master’s degree in Aquaculture from University of Tehran. My PhD project focused on interspecific comparison of the genus Capoeta (Actinopterygii, Cyprinidae) in adaptation to environmental parameters from central Iran (Caspian Sea and Salt Lake basins). This knowledge about the impact of environmental conditions on molecular and morphological characteristics of fish is the most important issue in the preservation of native species and the sustainability of ecosystems. Currently I am a  researcher spending my sabbatical opportunity under the EPIFISH Project and my project is related to Genome-Wide investigations of Nile tilapia through domestication.

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Omid Jafari
Visiting PhD student

Born in Iran, currently a PhD student at Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. I have obtained my Master’s degree in Aquaculture from Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Iran. My PhD thesis has mainly focused on Population Genomic investigations of common carp (Cyprinus carpio) across the southern coasts of the Caspian Sea using GBS technique. Knowledge obtained from this project would contribute to better identification of population structure of common carp and use of them in reconstruction programs across the southern Caspian Sea basin. Currently I am a researcher spending my sabbatical opportunity under the Epifish Project and my project is related to Genome-Wide investigations of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) through domestication.


Rina Miyashita
Visiting PhD student

I'm a visiting researcher from Japan. I got a Bachelor of Bio Science and became a Biologist at Tokyo Institute of Technology. As I cultivated a great interest in Evolutionary Developmental Biology of cetaceans, I moved to The University of Tokyo to study associated Aquatic Molecular Biology. Now I am a PhD student at Tokyo Marine University and my actual research is aimed at establishing Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells derived from dolphins. My research goal is to elucidate the molecular mechanism of cetacean evolution using their stem cells. Epigenetics is a subject that I wanted to study for a long time to expand my research field and make use of Cetology. This is why I wanted to join the EPIFISH Project. Here in Norway, I am studying the epigenetic analysis of Tilapia muscles and learning its associated techniques. This is my first time in Norway, so I am also interested in learning about the Norwegian culture. Also, seeing the Northern lights is my life dream. Thus, I hope I can achieve all my goals while staying in this wonderful land.
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Xianquan Chen
Visiting PhD student

Xianquan Chen is a PhD candidate in the department of the Research Institute of Economic Aquatic Animals in Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China. My work focuses mainly on the effects of different additives on growth, immunity and intestinal health of aquatic animals. My research is related to probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics and its regulation of immunity, morphology and the microbiota of the intestine on some commercially important species, like Nile tilapia, Grass carp, Penaeus vannamei. Besides, I am also involved in some research on the epigenetic regulation in Zebrafish, Nile tilapia and Salmon fish in Nord University, Bodo, Norway.