Collini Margherita

Margherita ColliniName (First Last): Margherita Collini


EDENext Group membership: TBD

Supervisors (Team Leaders): Dr. Heidi Hauffe (Group Leader Biodiversity and Environment), Dr. Annapaola Rizzoli (Group Leader Animal Ecology), Prof. Michele Mortarino (University of Milan)

Institution: Fondazione Edmund Mach, S. Michele all’Adige (TN), Italy

Member of project since: 15th June, 2011


Short description of project activities:

My research project will focus on the population structure and dispersal of the wood tick (Ixodes ricinus) using a landscape genetics approach at a local scale. Specifically, I will sample at least 30 populations of questing ticks across the Province of Trento, northern Italy. In 10 of these populations/sites I will also collect feeding larvae, nymphs and adults ticks from the main hosts (roe deer Capreolus capreolus, red deer Cervus elaphus, Passeriforme birds, micromammals such as Apodemus spp., Myodes spp., Erinaceus europaeus, domestic dogs, humans). The genotyping of ticks will be performed using a large set of microsatellite loci (at least 12 if possible) and two mitochondrial genes (partial 16S and complete cytochrome oxidase I). A specific target of the project is the optimization of a blood meal analysis technique for questing ticks using a forensic DNA sequencing approach. Microsatellite data and blood meal results will allow a better understanding of the population structure of Ixodes ricinus, its dispersion capacity and relations with hosts. All these information will allow new insight for the development of predictive models of tick-borne disease risk, also in the face of global change.


Main skills to be developed during the project:

  • Sampling ticks with dragging technique and from live micromammals;

  • DNA extraction from small quantity of low quality starting material;

  • Tick species identification with a molecular marker (16S gene);

  • STR protocol optimization for amplification and analysis of a large set of tick nuclear microsatellites;

  • genetic data analysis with dedicated software: sequence analysis, phylogeography, genetic population structure analysis, index of genetic variability.

  • Critical reading of published articles

  • drafting and publishing scientific papers

  • presentation of results in English


Are you willing to help other colleagues in EDENext, and if so in what fields or activities:

YES: Molecular genetics; especially PCR protocol optimization for amplification and sequencing of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA


Languages spoken: Italian, English

Registered at: PhD School, FEM and DIPAV, Section of General Pathology and Parassitology, University of Milan (Supervisor: Prof. Michele Mortarino; also in collaboration with Prof. Claudio Bandi)


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