Veronika Pedrini-Martha, PhD


Department of Zoology
Universität Innsbruck
Technikerstr. 25
6020 Innsbruck

Room: 6/13
Telefon:Telefon:  +43 512 507 51875


Current research

I try to understand how diverse species of molluscs, especially snails (gastropods), were able to conquer most habitat types on earth in the course of evolution. For successful colonization of the respective habitat effective stress response mechanisms are vital to overcome unfavorable environmental conditions.               

Metallothioneines, for example, are small proteins which can bind diverse metal ions with high affinity. Hence, they play an important role in the metabolism of essential metals (e.g. copper) and in the detoxification of toxic metal ions (e.g. cadmium). However, the gene structure, expression and the binding affinity of the protein to certain metal ions can vary greatly between different species which can mirror the adaption of this stress response pathway to changing environmental conditions of the respective habitat.


For more details see:

Ökotoxikologie und Molekulare Physiologie und Umweltstress und Genregulation


Education and qualification

2017 – present                 Post Doc at the Institute of Zoology, Leopold-Franzens Univeristy of Innsbruck

2011 – 2017                      PhD study at the Institute of Zoology, Leopold-Franzens University of Innsbruck
                                           PhD Thesis: Exploring the molecular basis for stress response plasticity in Cd-Metallothionein genes   
                                           of pulmonate snails. Supervised by Univ.    Prof. Dr. Reinhard Dallinger  

2007 – 2010                      Master study at the Institute of Zoology, Leopold-Franzens University of Innsbruck; Untersuchung           
                                            polymorpher Metallothionein-Varianten bei Cantareus aspersus


Funding and Grants

09/2020 – present             Co-Author FWF project: Structure, Metal-Loading and Biology of Multi- Domain Metallothioneins (md-MTs)

02/2022 – present             TWF-Grant: Stress response plasticity of unusual structured multi-domain Metallothioneins in the
                                             freshwater snail Marisa cornuarietis

09/2020 – 04/2021            L’ORÉAL Women for Science Scholarship

09/2019 – 02/2020            Grant ‘Forschungsstipendium an österreichische Graduierte‘ by the Leopold-Franzens University of

02/2015 – 02/2016            PhD scholarship ‘Doktroratsstipendium NEU’ by the Leopold-Franzens University of Innsbruck




Gnatyshyna L, Khoma V, Martinyuk V, Matskiv T, Pedrini-Martha V, Niederwanger M, Stoliar O, Dallinger R. Sublethal cadmium exposure in the freshwater snail Lymnaea stagnalis meets a deficient, poorly responsive metallothionein system while evoking oxidative and cellular stress. Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2022 Oct 17:109490. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2022.109490. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36265756.


García-Risco M, Calatayud S, Pedrini-Martha V, Albalat R, Dallinger R, Palacios Ò, Capdevila M. Metal-Specificity Divergence between Metallothioneins of Nerita peloronta (Neritimorpha, Gastropoda) Sets the Starting Point for a Novel Chemical MT Classification Proposal. Int J Mol Sci. 2021 Dec 4;22(23):13114. doi: 10.3390/ijms222313114. PMID: 34884919; PMCID: PMC8658704.


Schäfer GG, Pedrini-Martha V, Jackson DJ, Dallinger R, Lieb B., 2021. The evolution of hemocyanin genes in Tectipleura: a multitude of conserved introns in highly diverse gastropods. BMC Ecol Evol. (1):36. doi: 10.1186/s12862-021-01763-3. PMID: 33663373; PMCID: PMC7931591.


Pedrini‐Martha V, Schnegg R, Schäfer GG, Lieb B, Salvenmoser W, Dallinger R., 2021. Responsiveness of metallothionein and hemocyanin genes to cadmium and copper exposure in the garden snail Cornu aspersum. J Exp Zool A Ecol Integr Physiol. 2021 Feb;335(2):228-238. doi: 10.1002/jez.2425. Epub 2020 Nov 3. PMID: 33146003


Calatayud S, Garcia-Risco M, Pedrini-Martha V, Eernisse DJ, Dallinger R, Palacios Ò, Capdevila M, Albalat R., 2021. Modularity in protein evolution: modular organization and de novo domain evolution in mollusc metallothioneins. Mol Biol Evol. 38(2):424-436. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msaa230. PMID: 32915992.


Dallinger R, Zerbe O, Baumann C, Egger B, Capdevila M, Palacios Ò, Albalat R, Calatayud S, Ladurner P, Schlick-Steiner BC, Steiner FM, Pedrini-Martha V, Lackner R, Lindner H, Dvorak M, Niederwanger M, Schnegg R, Atrian S., 2020. Metallomics reveals a persisting impact of cadmium on the evolution of metal-selective snail metallothioneins. Metallomics.12(5):702-720. doi: 10.1039/c9mt00259f. PMID: 32196022.


Pedrini-Martha V, Köll S, Dvorak M, Dallinger R., 2020. Cadmium Uptake, MT Gene Activation and Structure of Large-Sized Multi-Domain Metallothioneins in the Terrestrial Door Snail Alinda biplicata (Gastropoda, Clausiliidae). Int J Mol Sci. 21(5):1631. doi: 10.3390/ijms21051631. PMID: 32120996; PMCID: PMC7084494.


Dvorak M, Schnegg R, Niederwanger M, Pedrini-Martha V, Ladurner P, Lindner H, Kremser L, Lackner R, Dallinger R., 2019. Cadmium Pathways in Snails Follow a Complementary Strategy between Metallothionein Detoxification and Auxiliary Inactivation by Phytochelatins. Int J Mol Sci. 21(1):7. doi: 10.3390/ijms21010007. PMID: 31861343; PMCID: PMC6981842


Schmielau, L., Dvorak, M., Niederwanger, M., Dobieszewski, N., Pedrini-Martha, V., Ladurner,P.,      Pedregal, J.R.G., Maréchal, J.D., Dallinger, R., 2019. Differential response to Cadmium exposure by        expression of a two and a three-domain metallothionein isoform in the land winkle Pomatias     elegans: Valuating the marine heritage of a land snail. Sci. Total Environ. 648,561–571. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.426


Schäfer, G.G., Pedrini-Martha, V., Schnegg, R., Dallinger, R., Jackson, D.J., Lieb, B., 2019. Hemocyanin genes as indicators of habitat shifts in Panpulmonata? Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 130, 99–103. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2018.10.014


Dvorak, M., Lackner, R., Niederwanger, M., Rotondo, C., Schnegg, R., Ladurner, P., Pedrini-Martha, V., Salvenmoser, W., Kremser, L., Lindner, H., García-Risco, M., Calatayud, S., Albalat, R., Palacios, Ò., Capdevila, M., Dallinger, R., 2018. Metal binding functions of metallothioneins in the slug Arion vulgaris differ from metal-specific isoforms of terrestrial snails. Metallomics. doi:10.1039/c8mt00215k


Niederwanger, M., Dvorak, M., Schnegg, R., Pedrini-Martha, V., Bacher, K., Bidoli, M., Dallinger, R., 2017. Challenging the Metallothionein (MT) gene of Biomphalaria glabrata: Unexpected response patterns due to cadmium exposure and temperature stress. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 18. doi:10.3390/ijms18081747


Pedrini-Martha, V., Schnegg, R., Baurand, P.E., de Vaufleury, A., Dallinger, R., 2017. The physiological role and toxicological significance of the non-metal-selective cadmium/copper-metallothionein isoform differ between embryonic and adult helicid snails. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. Part - C Toxicol. Pharmacol. 199, 38-47 doi:10.1016/j.cbpc.2017.02.009


Pedrini-Martha, V., Niederwanger, M., Kopp, R., Schnegg, R., Dallinger, R., 2016. Physiological, Diurnal and Stress-Related Variability of Cadmium-Metallothionein Gene Expression in Land Snails. PLoS One 11, e0150442. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0150442


Baurand, P.E., Dallinger, R., Niederwanger, M., Capelli, N., Pedrini-Martha, V., de Vaufleury, A., 2016. Differential sensitivity of snail embryos to cadmium: relation to age and metallothionein gene expression. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 23, 3062–3067. doi:10.1007/s11356-015-5320-y


Baurand, P.E., Pedrini-Martha, V., de Vaufleury, A., Niederwanger, M., Capelli, N., Scheifler, R., Dallinger, R., 2015. Differential expression of metallothionein isoforms in terrestrial snail embryos reflects early life stage adaptation to metal stress. PLoS One. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116004

Pedrini-Martha, V., Sager, M., Werner, R., Dallinger, R., 2012. Patterns of Urban mercury contamination detected by bioindication with terrestrial isopods. Arch. Environ. Contam. Toxicol. 63, 209–219. doi:10.1007/s00244-012-9766-3




 Pedrini-Martha V., Schnegg R., Baurand P.E., de Vaufleury A., Dallinger R.: Shedding light on the Non-Metal-Specific Cadmium/Copper-Metallothionein in the Roman Snail  Helix   Pomatia.

30th ESCPB Congress of the New European Society for Comparative Physiology and    Biochemistry, Barcelona, Spain 06.09.2016

 Schnegg R., Pedrini-Martha V., Schäfer G., Lieb B., Dallinger R. Metal Responsive Hemocyanin Genes in Gastropoda?

11th Annual Meeting of the German Zoological Society, Greifswald, Germany 12.10.2018

Niederwanger M., Pedrini-Martha V., Höckner M., Kopp R., Dallinger R.: Molecular mechanisms behind snail metal sensitivity: Cadmium metallothionein gene transcription involves activation of metal responsive elements.

SETAC Europe 24th Annual Meeting Basel, Switzerland 13.05.2014

 Baurand P.E., Pedrini-Martha V., Niederwanger M., Capelli N., Scheifler R., de Vaufleury A., Dallinger R.: Expression of metallothionein isoforms in embryos of the terrestrial snail Cantareus aspersus reveals early life stage adaptation to metal stress.

SETAC Europe 24th Annual Meeting Basel, Switzerland 14.05.2014

Pedrini-Martha V., Kopp R., Niederwanger M., Dallinger R.: Shedding light on the transcriptional regulation of Metallothionein genes in pulmonate Gastropods.

ESCPB Congress Bilbao 03 - 06.09.2012



Pedrini-Martha V., Kopp R., Niederwanger M., Dallinger R.: First steps in understanding transcriptional regulation of Metallothionein genes in terrestrial snails.

4th Annual Meeting of the Center for Molecular Biosciences (CMBI), Igls, Austria 27. - 28.09.2012

 Schnegg R., Baurand P.E., Pedrini-Martha V., Niederwanger M., de Vaufleury A., Dallinger R.: Applying metallothionein genes as potential biomarkers in embryos of terrestrial snails.

ASTOX Symposium 2017, Vienna, Austria 20.04.2017



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