Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Research Fellow
I obtained a Master degree in Biomolecular Sciences and Technologies in 2009 at the University of Pisa (Italy) and continued my master-thesis research at the European Institute of Oncology in Milan studying the molecular regulation of mitotic checkpoint. I moved to Heidelberg (Germany) in 2010 and completed my PhD study in molecular biology at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) and the Heidelberg University in October 2014 working on disorders of iron metabolism in the lab of Prof. Martina Muckenthaler and Prof. Matthias Hentze. Particularly, I investigated the relationship between the regulation of iron metabolism and innate immunity during acute inflammatory condition.
In 2016 I was awarded a Novo Nordisk Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in the laboratories of Dr Reshma Ramracheya and Prof Patrik Rorsman at the Oxford Centre for Diabetes Endocrinology & Metabolism at the University of Oxford.
My research focuses on type 2 diabetes and the role of gut hormones in its remission following bariatric surgery. Dysfunction in glucose-mediated insulin and glucagon secretion in pancreatic islets contributes to the onset of type 2 diabetes which is a global epidemic with over 300 million sufferers worldwide. Bariatric surgery can dramatically reverse type 2 diabetes independently of weight loss. The metabolic benefits are so compelling that these surgical procedures are now being considered as a therapeutic option for type 2 diabetes in obese patients, however the underlying physiological mechanisms are still unknown. Increased levels of the intestinal hormone PYY have been proved to be crucial in rodents by restoring islet secretory functions within days after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. I am now investigating the role of PYY in diabetes and islet function including insulin, glucagon and somatostatin release. Targeting PYY or its action may provide a novel, non-surgical therapy for diabetes.
In my work I regularly employ secretion studies, islet isolation, light microscopy, cell culture and biochemical assays. I also collaborate with scientists for electrophysiology measurements and calcium imaging.