Dave and Alejo Take a Research Trip to Villefranche-sur-Mer


With the purpose of understanding the mechanisms of sea urchin development, our researchers, Alejo and Dave, embarked on a four-week journey to the town of Villefranche-sur-Mer. They went to investigate the mechanisms of gene expression between the vegetal and animal sections of the sea urchin embryo of Paracentrotus lividus. This embryo has a pigmented band in the equatorial plane of the egg that allows for a splendid microsurgery to split it in two and extract RNA for sequencing.

In the heart of the French Riviera, Villefranche-sur-Mer is home to the Laboratoire de Biologie du Développement de Villefranche-sur-Mer (LBDV) of the Institut de la mer de Villefranche (IMEV). This research facility became our base for the duration of the project. This historic place has been a prison and hospital, but now is a marine research center.

We were fortunate to be hosted by Dr. Jeni Croce. Her support greatly enriched their research experience.


We investigated the sea urchin embryo of Paracentrotus lividus. By studying the differences between the vegetal and animal sections of the embryo, we hoped to gain insights that could have implications for our understanding of developmental biology.


The journey was as enlightening and sportive, Dave and Alejo enjoyed the hikes and also, Alejo had the opportunity to ride his bike in the same routes highligthed in the Tour de France.

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