UCL Division of Biosciences

Dr Stefano Bettinazzi

Dr Stefano Bettinazzi

Marie Sklodowska-Curie Research Fellow

Genetics, Evolution & Environment

Div of Biosciences

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2021

Research summary

I am an evolutionary physiologist with a soft spot for mitochondria and cellular bioenergetics. I take advantage of different experimental models (yeast, bivalves, insects, fish and human cells) to explore: 

i) the adaptive value of non-neutral mitochondrial DNA variations, including the functional role of supernumerary mitochondrial genes; 

ii) the bioenergetics underlying sexual dimorphism and the sexual antagonistic impact of a uniparental inheritance of cytoplasmic organelles; 

iii) the co-evolutionary dynamics between the mitochondrial and the nuclear genomes, including intergenomic conflicts (e.g. mitonuclear mismatch, heteroplasmy) and coadaptation to foster evolutionary innovations; 

iv) how the interaction between genetic and environmental factors might determine the ability of animals to adapt to a fast-changing environment. 

At UCL, I currently investigate the extent to which mitonuclear incompatibilities might impact local adaptation and hybrid breakdown given thermal and nutritional stress in natural population of Drosophila melanogaster.

Teaching summary

I worked as laboratory demonstrator for the courses of Animal physiology (BIO1634) and Comparative animal physiology 1 (BIO2620) and 2 (BIO2625).

2020: Lab Chief-demonstrator, Animal physiology, UdeM

2019: Lab demonstrator, Comparative animal physiology 1, UdeM

2019: Lab demonstrator, Animal physiology, UdeM

2018: Lab Chief-demonstrator, Comparative animal physiology 2, UdeM

2018: Lab demonstrator, Animal physiology, UdeM

2017: Lab Chief-demonstrator, Comparative animal physiology 1, UdeM

2017: Lab demonstrator, Animal physiology, UdeM

I have also mentored both undergraduate and graduate students:

2021: Marie Levet (PhD student, UdeM) and Vincent Melancon (BSc student, UdeM). Project: Impact of endoparasite infection upon host bioenergetics

2021: Ariane Pouliot-Drouin and Thierry Niaison (BSc students, UdeM). Project: Linking sperm mitochondria activity and paternal mitochondrial transmission

2021: Thierry Niaison (BSc student, UdeM). Project: Impact of supernumerary human mitochondrial proteins upon mitochondrial functions

2019: Thierry Choquette (BSc student, UdeM). Project: Mitochondrial membrane potential in DUI vs. non-DUI bivalve species

2018: Sugahendni Nadarajah (MSc student, University of Pierre and Marie Curie) and Andréanne Dalpé (BSc student, UdeM). Project: Importance of aerobic and anaerobic metabolism for sperm motility in DUI and SMI species

2017-2019: Georges Hraoui (MSc student, UdeM). Project: Mitochondrial plasticity and thermal adaptation in endangered and invasive freshwater bivalves

2017: Andréanne Dalpé (BSc student, UdeM). Project: Sperm swimming speed and mitochondrial metabolism in DUI vs. non-DUI species

2017: Laurence Lefebvre (BSc student, UdeM). Project: Heteroplasmy in bivalve species with DUI


My studies are based in both Italy and Canada. I received a bachelor's degree in Environmental sciences from University of Padova, a master's degree in Biology from University of Bologna and a PhD in Biological sciences from University of Montreal.

Following my PhD, I worked as research postdoc in Sophie Breton's lab (University of Montreal, Canada). In 2021 I was awarded a Marie Słodowska-Curie Fellowship to join Nick Lane's and Florencia Camus's labs (University College London, UK) as a postdoctoral research fellow.