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Cell Biology of Neural Development


  • Dr. Flavio Zolessi (Head) CVUy
  • Mag. Gonzalo Aparicio (Doctoral Student)
  • Lic. Camila Davison (Graduate Student)
  • Lic. Magela Rodao (Graduate Student)





In vertebrates, the central nervous system neurons arise from an extremely ordered tissue, the neuroepithelium. Our group is interested in understanding the mechanisms that underlie neuroepithelial differentiation (during neurulation) and neuronal differentiation, focusing in the roles and transitions of cell polarity during these processes. For this, we use both zebrafish and chick embryos. The zebrafish has great advantages for these studies, such as the accessibility to genetic manipulation and the unique optical transparency of embryos.



  1. Course on Processing and Analysis of Fluorescence Microscopy Images (PAFMI), Uruguay. Organizers: F. Zolessi, F. Lecumberry, P. Aguilar. 29/02-11/03/2016.
  2. IV Course and Symposium on Development and Plasticity of the Nervous System. Montevideo, Uruguay. Organizers: F. Zolessi, M. Brauer (IIBCE), F. Rossi (UdelaR). 06/10-08/11/2014.
  3. ICY Training Course –Program (Internal IP Montevideo training course). Instructor: A. Dufour (IP Paris). Organizers: F. Zolessi, P. Aguilar, F. Lecumberry.15-17/12/2014.


  1. Antonella Alba, Antonella Arrieta, Lucía Veloz. PAIE-CSIC 2016. Director: F. Zolessi; Co-director: G. Aparicio.
  2. María Eugenia Cruces. Undergraduate Thesis in Biology. Director: Mercedes González; Co-director: F. Zolessi. Training on Fish Embryo Toxicity (FET) test for potential therapeutical compounds using zebrafish (2014-2015).


  1. Symposium on Genome Editing, XVI Congreso Latinoamericano de Genética (ALAG 2016). Co-organized by F. Zolessi and G. Bedó. Montevideo, Uruguay. 9-12/10/2016.
  2. XV Jornadas de la Sociedad Uruguaya de Biociencias (SUB). Piriápolis, Uruguay. 5-7/09. President: F. Zolessi.


  1. Brain Awareness Week, Montevideo, Uruguay.
  2. Semanacyt (Science and Technology Week). Uruguay.
  3. Facultad de Ciencias (UdelaR) Open Doors Day.
  4. Institut Pasteur de Montevideo Open Doors Day.


  1. FCE_1_2014_1_104160 – ANII, Uruguay. F. Zolessi.


Prieto D., Zolessi F.R. (2017) Functional diversification of the four MARCKS family members in zebrafish neural development. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 328(1-2):119-13 DOI: 10.1002/jez.b.22691

Lepanto P., Badano J.L., Zolessi F.R. (2016) Neuron’s little helper: the role of primary cilia in neurogenesis. Neurogenesis. 3:1, e1253363.

Lepanto P., Davison C., Casanova G., Badano J.L., Zolessi F.R. (2016) Characterization of primary cilia during the differentiation of retinal ganglion cells in the zebrafish. Neural Dev. 11(1):10. doi: 10.1186/s13064-016-0064-z. Access the recommendation on F1000Prime

Zolessi F.R. (2016) Vertebrate neurogenesis: cell polarity (v. 3). Encyclopedia of Life Sciences (Wiley). DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0000826.pub3

Prieto D., Aparicio G., Machado, M., Zolessi F.R. (2015) Application of the DNA-Specific Stain Methyl Green in the Fluorescent Labeling of Embryos. J. Vis. Exp. (99), e52769, doi: 10.3791/52769.

Paolini A, Duchemin AL, Albadri S, Patzel E, Bornhorst D, González Avalos P, Lemke S, Machate A, Brand M, Sel S, Di Donato V, Del Bene F, Zolessi FR, Ramialison M, Poggi L. (2015) Asymmetric inheritance of the apical domain and self-renewal of retinal ganglion cell progenitors depend on Anillin function. Development 142(5): 832-9. doi: 10.1242/dev.118612

Prieto D., Aparicio G., Morande P.E., Zolessi F.R. (2014) A fast, low cost, and highly efficient fluorescent DNA labeling method using methyl green. Histochem Cell Biol 142(3):335-45. doi: 10.​1007/​s00418-014-1215-0

Tinoco L.W., Fraga J.L., AnoBom C.D., Zolessi F.R., Obal G., Toledo A., Pritsch O., Arruti C. (2014) Structural characterization of a neuroblast-specific phosphorylated region of MARCKS. Biochim Biophys Acta 1844(4): 837-849.


fzolessi (at)