Federico Zurita Martínez

I got my Master Degree in 1991 regarding Clinical Genetics

I started researching about “Molecular and Evolutionary Mammalian Cytogenetics” (1992-1999). At that time, we were focusing on the regulation of the expression of ribosomal cistrons. On the basis of that topic, I obtained my PhD degree in 1998 from the University of Granada with the doctoral thesis entitled “Structural organization and regulation of the expression of Ribosomal Cistrons”. Then, four articles were published from this doctoralthese: two articles in the journal Heredity, one article in the journal Chromosome Research and one article in Journal of Cell Science. In 1999 I was awarded a postdoctoral grant from the MEC, and I carried out one research stay for two-years in two different laboratories in France (Rennes and Montpellier). In those two laboratories I was working on “Genetic control of gonadal development in mammals”. We used the mole Talpa occidentalis as a model organism. The Iberian mole is a species in which XX individuals possess bilateral ovotestes, that is, gonads containing both testicular and ovarian tissue. The ovarian portion contains oocytes and therefore confers fertility to these females, but in addition testicular tissue is developed and it secretes functional testosterone. This XX testicular tissue from the ovotestes is developed in absence of the SRY gene.

So we set out to study and characterize those cells that forming cords and morphologically resembles Sertoli cells. Testicular development in mammals depends from Sertoli cells as these cells secretes factors involved in Leydig cells citodifferentiation which subsequently secrets testosterone. However, our results yielded the surprising conclusion that testicular tissue XX (which presents testicular-specific cells, such as Leydig cells, and peritubular myoid cells) develops in the absence of functional Sertoli cells. It would be therefore necessary to explain both Leydig cells and peritubular myoid cells cytodifferentiation in the absence of functional Sertoli cells. From this line, four articles were published (Mechanisms of Development, Sexual Development, International Journal of Developmental Biology, Journal of Experimental Zoology-B Mol Dev Evol)

Finally since 2010 I belong to research team involved in several projects headed by Dr. González-Reyes. These projects are focusing on the ovary of Drosophila as a model organism and address the cellular and molecular characterization of stem cells (Germ Stem Cells). Specifically, we have been addressing the role of metalloproteinase inhibitors (timp mutants) in maintaining the integrity of the niche morphology, cellular environment and signaling that supports these GSCs. Several articles have been published in this line of research (see CV).

Currently we are researching the probably rol of reck gene in “niche” homeostasis using also Drosophila ovary as model organism.

Finally I am involved in a Research Project which is carrying out The Reina Sofía Hospital (Cordoba. Spain) focused in Stem Cells.

TFMs dirigidos en los últimos 5 años:


  1. Título del TFM: Estudio de la interacción entre células somáticas y germinales en la gónada de Drosophila melanogaster.
    • Nombre del estudiante del Máster: Dilamm Even Ros.
    • Curso académico: 2015/16
  1. Título del TFM: Estudio de la función del gen reck en el mantenimiento de la integridad estructural del ovario de Drosophila melanogaster.
    • Nombre del estudiante del Máster: Judith Huertas Romero
    • Curso académico: 2017/18
  1. Título del TFM: Obtención de una línea transgénica (nos-CD4-GFP11) para abordar el estudio de las regiones donde interactúan células somáticas y germinales en Drosophila melanogaster.
    • Nombre del estudiante del Máster: Sara Medina Suarez
    • Curso académico: 2018/19