Pierfrancesco Sechi

My current topic of research is related to evolution of cryptic divergence and phylogeography in the earthworm Lumbricus rubellus, taking advantage of species distribution modelling frameworks and the recent advancements in sequencing technologies.My main aim is to exploit the possibility to “read” the genetic history and demography of a species at the fine-scale resolution offered by whole genomes and mitogenomes.

I have extensive experience with phylogenetic data of invertebrates and knowledge of major software used in dealing with the different phylogenetic frameworks (MrBayes, PAUP, Mega, RaxML, PhyML and the PHYLIP package) on a multiple platform basis (MacIntosh, Windows and Unix).

I have knowledge of data analysis of Next Generation Sequencing data, including mitogenomic and SNPs data for phylogenomics. More specifically, my skills include management of large NGS files (fastq, SAM, BAM files) reference-based mapping (with BWA and BOWTIE softwares), de-novo assembly softwares (Soapdenovo, trinity, AbySS, Velvet), knowledge of the SAMtools utility, shell scripting and python scripting in Unix and Mac shell.

I greatly enjoy communicating science to the public. In 2013, I collaborated in the context of a BBC radio Wales and Cardiff University initiative for the public understanding of Science (Summer of Wildlife). My role consisted of interacting with the public (children and adults), teaching DNA extraction and using an interactive game that we designed in the lab to explain conservation genetics. Our stand was the most successful of the initiative and the BBC invited us to participate at the Royal Welsh Show 2013.

I have experience as a teaching assistant in laboratory practicals (zoology, population genetics, phylogenetics) and I supervised and co-supervised undergraduate students. Keywords: Population genetics, phylogenetics, phylogeography, ecological niche modelling, species distribution modelling, bioinformatics, NGS, phylogenomics, mitochondrial, mitogenomics.

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