Dr. Peter von Dassow (USA, 1974) obtained his Bachelor of Science in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Washington, Seattle, USA (1997) and his doctorate in Oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, USA (2003). He did postdoctoral work with the University of Washington, Seattle, USA (2003-2006) at the Station Biologique de Roscoff, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Roscoff, France (2007-2010).
Dr. von Dassow has a longstanding interest in the activity of phytoplankton cells in addition to photosynthesis. During his doctoral studies he researched the regulation of the bioluminescence of dinoflagellates. He showed that these cells regulate an anti-predator luminous response with a sophisticated mechanical-sensory system based on the intracellular concentration of calcium ions. He has since specialized in the life cycles and genomic evolution of phytoplankton, especially diatoms and cocolithophorids. While studying the life cycle of diatoms, he discovered that the evolution of cell size in this group is related to abrupt changes in the quantity of DNA per cell, apparently due to polyploidization and aneuploidization. With cocolithophorids, Dr. von Dassow has worked specifically in defining how gene expression differs among the distinct phases in the life cycle.
Finally, he has participated in several international consortiums working on the analysis and annotation of the genomes of eukaryotic phytoplankton (diatoms, cocolithophorids, prasinophytes) and a brown microalgae.
The focus of his research in IMO is the life cycles and genomic evolution of phytoplankton and the development of advanced cytometric and phytoplankton culturing techniques for laboratory study.
Dr. van Dassow is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Ecology in the Faculty of Biological Sciences of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He participates in the international GDRI network on 'Diversity, Evolution and Biotechnology of Marine Algae' involving France, Brazil, and Chile, and the international research unit UMI 3614 'Evolutionary Biology and Ecology of Algae' with researchers in France and Chile.