Principal Investigator

Ana Riesgo 

I'm interested in molecular evolution, reproductive patterns, and molecular ecology of sponges (and also polychaetes). My research spans from transcriptomics to electron microscopy approaches to various biological and ecological questions including speciation, adaptation and genetic connectivity. 

To have a look at my academic education click 

Contact me at: anariesgogil at

Graduate students


Eleonora Rossi

I'm interested in the phylogenetic relationships of early splitting lineages of animals (sponges, ctenophores and cnidarians), their molecular adaptations to survive millions of years and the origins of their cell types. My PhD is mostly based at Bristol University and NHM.

Contact me at: m.eleonora.rossi at 

Vasiliki Koutsouveli


I'm doing my PhD on the reproductive ecology and genetic connectivity patterns of key species from North Atlantic sponge grounds. I will be developing transcriptomic and genomic resources to help assess molecular evolution of the reproduction in demosponges and hexactinellids. Also, I am interested in the variation of metabolite production during the ontogeny of demosponges. My PhD is funded by the EU H2020 project SponGES.

Contact me at: V.Koutsouveli at



Belén Arias


I am working on the SpongeDNA project assessing the population genomics patterns of deep sea sponges and their associated communities (metazoans and microbes). Also, I am studying the symbiotic relationships of invasive fruit flies and bacteria and their population structure.

Contact me at: b.arias at


Aida Verdes

I'm a Marie Curie Fellow working on the evolution of venoms in nemerteans using molecular and morphological approaches. My project will investigate the spatial location of venoms and the molecular mechanisms used to produce toxins by a wide array of species.


Contact me at: aida.verdes at


Contact me at: cristinadiezvives at

Cristina Diez

I'm a Marie Curie Fellow working on ecological patterns of co-evolution of microbiomes and their hosts in the deep-sea. I'm leading a project using deep-sea sponges of the Cantabric Sea to understand the correlation of the host genotype and microbiome structure and the conservation of functional diversity.


2013-2014 Laura Sánchez-Vila (Master's student, UB)


2013-2014 Elena Cerro Gálvez (Master's student, UB)


2013-2014 Olga Espada Abad (Master's student, UB)


2013-2015 Carlota Coll Gutiérrez (undergrad student, UB)


2013-2014 Joan Solà Fernández (undergrad student, UB)


2013-2015 Paolo Melis (Postdoc, UB)


2014-2015 Joan Solà Fernández (Master's student, UB)

2014-2015 Andrea Bertran (undergrad student)

2012-2016 Patricia Álvarez-Campos (PhD student): now Postdoc at Oxford Brookes University

2017 Jennifer Pearce (Master's student, Imperial College)

2018 Alex Mitchell (Master's student, UCL)

2018 Ana da Silva (Master's student, UCL)

2017-2019 Nadia Santodomingo (Postdoc researcher, now Postdoc at NHM)

2017-2019 Nathan Kenny (Postdoc Researcher, now Postdoc at Oxford Brookes University)

2017-2019 Bruna Plese (Postdoc Researcher, now Associate Scientist at DNA electronics)

2017-2019 Sergi Taboada (Postdoc Researcher, now Postdoc at Universidad de Alcalá, Spain)

2019 Alex Cranston (Master's student, UCL)

2020 Connie Whiting (Master's student, UCL)

2020 Katherine Hartle-Mogiou (Master's student, Imperial College)