My current research is focused on developing diagnostic tools and pro-drug therapeutic approaches to address unmet needs in the area of oncology. Leveraging advanced methods for the molecular characterization of patient samples, I am interested in addressing specific questions related to intrinsic and acquired resistance to therapy, alternative biomarkers for treatment and monitoring, and early diagnosis. My ultimate goal is to perform translational research that will benefit patients, and to contribute to the understanding of biological mechanisms of tumorigenesis.
I received my MSc in Biology from the University of Rome, and a PhD in Molecular Medicine from Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. My early work during graduate school and the first postdoctoral training has focused on the molecular mechanisms of cancer initiation and progression, and on the validation of prognostic and predictive biomarkers and therapeutic targets in a pre-clinical setting. I then worked with the immunology team of Elizabeth Ryan (University College Dublin) as the Merck-Serono Newman Fellow in translational oncology, studying the effect of the tumor microenvironment in mediating resistance to therapy. More recently, with the Science Foundation Ireland Industry Fellowship and the current postdoctoral training at UCSF, my research focus has broadened to include the development of diagnostic tools and therapeutic strategies in the area of immune-oncology, as well as allowing me to closely interact with an early-stage startup company (Alaunus Biosciences). I was fortunate to develop my career in a multidisciplinary environment, collaborating with biologists, clinicians and biochemists from different backgrounds, and working in both academic and startup/entrepreneurial settings. My long-term aspirations are to continue developing my career towards more translational and clinical directions, to continue to work in multidisciplinary environments, and to build bridges between publicly-funded research, private and entrepreneurial stakeholders, with the ultimate goal to advance patient care.