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A question often asked of those of us who work in the seemingly esoteric field of fish vision is, why? To some of us the answer seems obvious – how many other visual scientists get to dive in a tropical lagoon in the name of science and then are able to eat their subjects for dinner? However, there are better, or at least scientifically more acceptable, reasons for working on the visual system of fish. – Douglas & Djamgoz, 1990

Valerio is a PhD student originally from the swiss-italian side of Switzerland with a background in neuroengineering and molecular biology. He completed his BSc in biology at the University of Lausanne (UNIL), Switzerland and his MSc in biology (with focus on neuroscience) at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), Switzerland.  Despite grewing up in the middle of the Alps, he always had a fascination for marine life, which brought him to undergo his Master’s thesis here at the Sensory Neurobiology group on the visual system of surgeonfish, under the supervision of Dr Fanny de Busserolles and Dr Fabio Cortesi in 2018. Valerio is a dive instructor and passionate about photography (both underwater and terrestrial).


I’m interested in marine biology as a whole, genetics, evolution, and visual ecology. I like to tackle questions with multiple approaches and research techniques. Currently, I’m developing new methodologies to investigate the visual system and the colouration of damselfish (mostly clownfish) using genetic engineering techniques (CRISPR-Cas9). I also use histology, molecular biology, behavioural studies and calibrated photography to study the visual ecology of these colourful coral reef fish.

I’m also researching the evolution of opsins genes in Surgeonfishes and its ecological context, defined by habitat and feeding behaviour.


2016 BSc in Biology, University of Lausanne, SWITZERLAND

2018 MSc in Biology (focus in Neurosciences), Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), SWITZERLAND




Cortesi F, Mitchell LJ, Tettamanti V, Fogg LG, de Busserolles F, Cheney KL, Marshall NJ (2020) Visual system diversity in coral reef fishes. In Seminars in Cell & Developmental Biology, Academic Press. 


Tettamanti, V, de Busserolles, F, Lecchini, D, Marshall, NJ, & Cortesi, F (2019) Visual system development of the spotted unicornfish, Naso brevirostris (Acanthuridae). Journal of Experimental Biology, 222(24).