Lucía Pita

Postdoc Researcher

My research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of animal-microbe-environment interactions, with particular attention to animal immunity. Humans and all animals outsource key functions like nutrition or defense to their microbial symbionts. Evolution established the rules of host-microbe agreements. However, our modern world (e.g., antibiotic abuse, industrialization, climate change) is interfering with animal-microbe communication, ultimately causing diseases. I study sponge-microbe interactions because they constitute a paradigm of marine symbiosis due to their ancient origin, their complexity, and their role in the ecosystem. As one of the oldest -and still around- animal groups, sponges offer us the opportunity to find the toolkit that allows animals to engage in microbial conversations. My vision is to translate the knowledge gained on the mechanism of sponge-microbe communication into new targets for effective therapies to promote animal and human health.