Nyakatura-Lab for Comparative Zoology

Fabio Alfieri

Dr. Fabio Alfieri

research associate
Dr. Fabio Alfieri

My main research interests are vertebrate long bone functional morphology and evolution, with special focus on mammals. I am currently working on my Ph.D. project, co-supervised by Prof. Dr. John Nyakatura and Dr. Eli Amson, aiming to characterize the convergent evolution of humeral and femoral functional anatomy in mammals adapted to the slow arboreal lifestyle, in a phylogenetic framework. The work adopts a holistic approach, joining morphological analyses at several scales of investigation. Namely, I am tackling the topic, investigating external 3D shape, diaphyseal cross-sectional geometry, mid-diaphyseal microstructural porosity and epiphyseal trabecular structure. My Ph.D. project will also contribute to the palaeocological inference of important extinct clades included in my sample, as sloths from the Patagonian Early Miocene Santa Cruz Formation and subfossil lemurs from the Madagascar Pleistocene-Holocene.
I had the honour to work in some of the most famous bone collections and institutions in Europe and USA. I was awarded by the RTNN Kickstarter Program, allowing access to Micro-CT device at Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF), Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.

My other interests and skills are related to my previous experiences and education. I obtained my B.Sc. in Natural Sciences in 2014 at the University of Pisa (Italy) with a thesis in prehistoric archaeology and palaeocology. Then, still at the University of Pisa, I studied Evolutionary Biology obtaining my M.Sc. in 2017 with a final dissertation on primate functional morphology. After M.Sc., I had the opportunity to work some months in 2017 at the University Paul Sabatièr, Toulouse (France) for a post-graduate traineeship, under the supervision of Prof. Josè Braga. Before my Ph.D., I worked as a research assistant (2017-2018) with my M.Sc. thesis supervisor, Prof. Damiano Marchi, at the University of Pisa, mainly addressing stereo-photogrammetry for biological specimens’ virtual acquisition. This skill complements data acquisition with micro-CT scans, developed during the PhD. The collaboration with Prof. Marchi is ongoing.“

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