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Biography

I am physicist trained in biophysics and biology. My track record will tell you that my research is quite eclectic as I have published work across various disciplines, spanning information theory, sensor technologies, molecular biology and cell biology. I love to tinker with technology, develop new algorithms and software and I am best known for these aspects of my work. However, the molecular mechanisms of disease have been always at the focus of my biophysical developments. The passion for science and technology can be even more rewarding when addressing problems which solution have high societal impact. Cancer biology is my passion since 2010, a field where I believe I can make an impact with my unique background and vision.

 

My journey in Academia started in 2002 when I graduated form the University of Genoa in Physics with a background in Biophysics and a Thesis entitled “Two-photon analysis of intracellular divalent ions in rat cerebellar granules culture”. I then moved to the European Neuroscience Institute in Goettingen in Prof. Fred Wouters group where I specialized in the development of biochemical imaging techniques and their applications to the study of neurodegenerative diseases. At the same time I enrolled at Utrecht University under the supervision of Prof. Hans Gerritsen and obtained my PhD in 2006 with a Thesis entitled “Molecular and Cellular Quantitative Microscopy”. Working between Gerritsen’s and Wouters’ laboratories, we innovated technology and theoretical frameworks related to fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy and I trained in biology and molecular biology. In 2007 I moved to the University of Cambridge working between the groups of Prof. Clemens Kaminski and Dr Virgilio Lew where we proposed new methodologies to investigate the homeostasis of red blood cells infected by Plasmodium falciparum, the causative pathogen of malaria. This work allowed us to model infected cells more accurately.

In late 2009 I obtained an EPSRC Life Sciences Interface fellowship to develop multiplexing technologies aimed to investigate biochemical networks in single living cells and, shortly after, I transferred to the MRC Cancer Unit in the Director’s group of Prof. Ashok Venkitaraman. During this period I swapped discipline and I gradually established a team working on elucidating the biochemical determinants of cell decisions in carcinogenesis. Since 2012, I am a Senior Investigator Scientist; since 2017 I have a group embedded in the Venkitaraman laboratory and I have been recently recognised as an independent group at the MRC Cancer Unit under the Direction of Prof. Rebecca Fitzgerald.