I obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Biology at University of Naples “Federico II” in 2007 and my Master’s Degree in Science and Molecular Biotechnology at the University of Pisa in 2009.
During my undergraduate studies I started a project at the department of Microbiology at the University of Pisa based on the in vitro cellular interaction between human Natural Killer (NK) cells and Mycobacterium bovis BCG. This experience made me develop a tremendous interest in the multifaceted mechanisms of the host immunity to mycobacterial infection.
For this reason, I applied for a PhD scholarship at the department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Pisa, under the supervision of Prof. Batoni, who had a proven strong experience in the field of mycobacterial research. I carried out my PhD project in the context of the European Community project Novsec-TB (Health-201762). I have been studying the role of novel secretion system of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the host-pathogen interaction. Particularly, I focused on the molecular mechanisms underlying the induction and function of the inflammasome related cytokines by discrete subsets of innate immune cells upon infection with ESX-5 mutant strains of M. tuberculosis.
After my PhD I had the opportunity to pursue my research career in the mycobacterial field whilst working as postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Loftus’ laboratory at the School of Medicine and Medical Science at the University College of Dublin. Under the supervision of Prof. Loftus I have worked on a number of aspects of the virulence of Mycobacterium abscessus, one of the most important mycobacteria involved in broncho-pulmonary infection in patients with cystic fibrosis or chronic pulmonary disease. I have been looking at the host response to the differing M. abscessus morphotypes using both quantitative proteomics and RNA-sequencing approaches in a macrophage infection model.
In April 2015 I have started a postdoc at the Translational Gastroenterology and Human Immunology Unit of Oxford University, in the Simmons laboratory. My research project investigates new mechanisms of cell intrinsic immunity to different serovars of the intracellular pathogen Salmonella enterica (Typhi, Paratyphi, Typhimurium). Specifically, by using a combination of large scale screening approaches (single-cell RNA-seq) and functional biological studies, we investigate distinct infection outcomes are reflected in the transcriptional status of individual host cells, to unravel the mechanisms of this variation in both the host and bacteria.
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