Luisa Orsini

Colleges, School and Institutes

Research interests

Dr Luisa Orsini is an Associate Professor in Biosystems and Environmental Change at the University of Birmingham (UoB). She uses multidisciplinary science to understand evolutionary processes and mechanisms that enable freshwater communities, responsible for delivering critical ecosystem services (e.g. clean water, nutrient cycling, food provisioning) to persist in the face of human impact. Evolution occurs on multidecadal time scales. To reconstruct long-term dynamics, Orsini applies high throughput sequencing technologies (genomics, transcriptomic, metabolomics, environmental DNA) to sedimentary archives of inland waters, which have the unique advantage of preserving biological and environmental signals temporally. These archives are the resource of ‘resurrected’ specimens of the keystone crustacean Daphnia magna (waterflea), the biological agent at the core of a novel engineering biology solution for wastewater decontamination. Orsini applies engineering biology to translate fundamental science discoveries into practical applications of wide impact. To this end, she develops biotechnologies towards process-scale surface and wastewater decontamination as well as novel tools for the cost-effective and high throughput quantification of biodiversity to guide environment agencies and policy makers in conservation strategies. By translating cutting-edge multidisciplinary science into practical applications, Orsini provides tools and processes for mitigation interventions that enable green growth and meet UN developmental goals. 

Education/Academic qualification

  • Emerging Leaders Programme certificate (leadership style and management)

  • Medici Enterprise Training Certificate (business, IP and spin-out)

  • Master of Teaching and Learning

    Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PCAP)

    2 Sep 2013 - 18 May 2017
  • Doctor of Science, Stazione Zoologica “A. Dohrn”

    Integrated approach to the study of diversity in the genus Pseudo-nitzschia (Bacillariophyceae): morphology, life cycles and molecular tools

    1 Oct 1999 - 1 Oct 2002
  • Master in Science, Istituto Universitario Navale, Naples-Italy

    Genetic variability of Posidonia oceanica populations related to water masses dynamic in the Mediterranean Sea

    1 Sep 1994 - 25 Mar 1999

Willingness to take PhD students


PhD projects

In pursuit of this interest Luisa Orsini contributed significantly to the development of science. Dr Orsini recently showcased the paleogenomic approach as the most powerful way to reconstruct evolutionary dynamics in nature and to forecast future adaptive responses to environmental stress, including climate change (Orsini et al, 2013 TREE).

Dr Orsini is currently recruiting postdoctoral researchers in biostatistics and bioinformatics. Researchers recruited will be working in a highly multidisciplinary research that bridges "omics" technologies, modeling, evolutionary biology and paleogenomics.