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A headshot photo of Alessandra Gentile

Tissue folding is a critical developmental process that sculpts flat epithelia into three dimensional organs, across species. Recent studies in human fetal neocortex and in Drosophila wing disc have reported a role for extracellular matrix (ECM) during tissue folding. However, whether there are local differences in extracellular forces, and how this emergent spatial heterogeneity can remodel the ECM to drive tissue folding in the human neocortex is still under investigation. Using a multidisciplinary approach on diverse models sharing similar morphogenetic processes, I aim to open new interesting avenues in ECM developmental biology and tissue morphogenesis.

Research themes

Developmental Neurobiology

ECM dynamics

Tissue morphogenesis

Tissue mechanics 

Light microscopy

In vivo live imaging
High-resolution microscopy


2022                   Postdoctoral researcher, Centre for Developmental Neurobiology King’s College London and University College London,                                 London, UK
                              Supervisors: Dr Katie Long & Prof Yanlan Mao
                              Project: Investigating mechano-chemical principles of tissue folding

2022              PhD, Developmental Genetics Department Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim, Germany
                              Supervisors: Prof Dr Didier Stainier, Dr Felix Gunawan, Dr Anabela Bensimon-Brito Projects: Investigating the role of                                   the transcription factor Snai1b in regulating the myocardial wall integrity during zebrafish development
                              Characterization of valve interstitial cell development in zebrafish, Investigating the role of mechanical forces on the   
                              ECM remodelling during cardiac morphogenesis

2017              Internship at Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry (ICB), Italy
     Supervisors: Prof Vincenzo Di Marzo, Dr Enrico D’Aniello
                       Project: Characterization of Phytocannabinoid function in lipid metabolism using mammalian cells and zebrafish

2016              MSc at Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Napoli, Italy
                              Supervisors: Dr Paolo Sordino, Dr Aldo Donizetti Project: Hyperexcitability during zebrafish 
                              development: molecular, cellular, and locomotion analysis

2014              BSc at Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II


2023              Co-investigator fellow, EMBO European Molecular Biology

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