Uq Postdoctoral Research Fellow 




Gooogle Scholar

If you want beauty and wildlife, you want a coral reef. […] The sight is mind-blowing. And that, actually, is still a mystery: why are coral reefs so beautiful and colourful? It is not immediately obvious, though the wildlife is wonderful: shell-less molluscs, crustaceans and shoals of fish […]

Sir David Attenborough, 28th October 2012, The Guardian, UK

Fabio hails from the Swiss Alps, but has been converted into a marine scientist when he initially joined our team to compelete his honours thesis on the colourful displays of marine nudibranchs (sea slugs) in 2009. He then returned to Switzerland to conduct a PhD on the intriguing mimicry system of the dusky dottyback, a small coral reef fish that has the ability to change colour in order to fool its prey. During this time, Fabio worked under the supervision of Prof. Walter Salzburger at the University of Basel as well as our own team here in Australia. Since mid-2015 he has joined our ‘team fish’ as a Postdoctoral researcher, first under a Swiss National Science Foundation Fellowship and now as a UQ Postdoctoral Fellow.

I’m interested in the forces, from molecule to environment, which shape biodiversity in nature. Focusing mainly on the evolution of visual systems in fish, I’m trying to understand how other animals perceive the world, how this contributes to the formation of colours and patterns and eventually may lead to species diversity. To understand how vision is shaping single species and whole communities, I’m using a variety of methods including NGS molecular approaches, mutagenesis experiments, neurophysiological assessments of visual systems and behavioural experimentation.

And else?

I love to travel the world, experience new cultures and learn about other people’s ways of life. I m an avid surfer and scuba diver and since I grew up in the middle of the Swiss Alps I can’t be without the occasional snowboarding trip…

2008 BSc (Animal and Plant Sciences) The University of Basel, SWITZERLAND
2009 BSc (Hons; Marine Science) The University of Queensland, AUSTRALIA
2014 PhD (Zoology) The University of Basel, SWITZERLAND

2015  Postdoctoral Research Fellow, The University of Queensland, AUSTRALIA
2016  Swiss National Science Foundation Early PostDoc.Mobility Fellow, The University of Queensland, AUSTRALIA
2017 – Present  The University of Queensland Postodcoral Research Fellow, The University of Queensland, AUSTRALIA



  • Laurie Mitchell

    PhD candidate
  • Valerio Tettamanti

    PhD candidate) 
  • Vivien Rothenberger

    MSc candidate (University of Basel)




 Musilová Z*, Cortesi F,* Matschiner M, Davies WIL, Stieb SM, de Busserolles F,Marshall NJ, Salzburger W (2018) Vision using multiple distinct rod opsins in deep-sea fishes. bioRxiv 2018. doi.org/10.1101/424895 *Shared first authorship




Boileau N, Cortesi F, Egger B, Muschick M, Indermaur A, Theis A, Büscher HH, Salzburger W (2015) A complex mode of aggressive mimicry in a scale-eating cichlid fish. Biology Letters 2015;11(9):20150521. Download Paper 
 Cortesi F*, Musilová Z*, Stieb SM, Hart NS, Siebeck UE, Malmstrøm M, Tørresen OK, Jentoft S, Cheney KL, Marshall NJ, et al (2015) Ancestral duplications and highly dynamic opsin gene evolution in percomorph fishes. PNAS  2015;112(5):1493–1498. *Shared first authorship Download Paper