Daniela Zeppilli is a Biologist with a Ph.D. in Marine Biology and Ecology, and a researcher at the Deep-Sea Lab, Ifremer, France. Fascinated by the world that is invisible to the naked eye, she is specialized in nematodes, a
microscopic underwater phylum. Her dream as a scientist to understand the limits of metazoan life on our planet. Four billion years ago our planet was an extreme environment. There are still several extreme ecosystems that
exist today where meiofauna is present in surprising abundance and with adaptations that call into question our knowledge of the limits of life. Her research is also aimed at understanding how these animals have been able to resist certain bacteria and extreme conditions. Daniela is the PI of the PIONEER project (Prokaryote-nematode Interaction in marine extreme envirONments: a uNiquE source for ExploRation of innovative biomedical applications) which aims to discover new groups of peptides or proteins capable of generating a network of communication signals that could be potentially useful in the immune response.
For her research projects, Daniela Zeppilli received the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Fellowship in 2014. Her research is also focused to unveil the incredible and virtually unknown deep-sea meiofauna biodiversity by means classical and molecular tools and she is directly involved in the project Pourquoi Pas Les Abysses, which aims to a (re) evaluation of the biodiversity present in the abysses using a double approach that will involve analysing the environmental DNA (eDNA) present in the marine sediment, and the morphological determination of fauna. Furthermore, Daniela Zeppilli is interest to understand the impact of anthropogenic impacts (both economic exploitation and pollution) threating deep-sea meiofauna, and she is leading the WP “Microplastics in the deep sea” of the “Microplastics project,” Ifremer. Since 2014, Daniela is L’Oréal Ambassador “For Girls in Science” to install confidence in girls from an early age by showing them potential and breaking gender preconceptions.