Associate Professor in Biochemistry,
ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0803-7591
a) Background and research activity
2014-date: Associate Professor in Biochemistry, Department of Biology, University of Padova. Present research focuses on the study of photosynthesis in different organisms investigating how evolution shaped the regulation of this metabolic pathway in algae, mosses and plants.
Information from basic research is exploited for the development of new strategies industrial production of biomolecules from algae. The objective of the research is to improve algae efficiency in converting light into biomass and key limiting steps of photosynthesis are being identified by integrating biophysical, biochemical and functional investigation of algae photosynthetic apparatus with genome, transcriptome, lipidome and metabolome analysis. Information obtained are exploited to develop genetically engineered strains with improved productivity for a possible industrial application. This project was awarded in 2012 of an ERC starting Grant entitled : “BioLEAP— Biotechnological optimization of light use efficiency in algae photobioreactors” and is now continuing thanks to the support of private parteners.
At present I am supervising the work of four PhD students, two post-docs, one technician as well as three master students.
2007-2013: Assistant professor in Biochemistry, Department of Biology, University of Padova. Research activity was focused on the study of regulatory mechanisms of photosynthesis in the moss Physcomitrella patens, investigating how evolution shaped their adaptation during plants land colonization. In 2009 the research activity on the possible exploitation of algae for biofuels production was started.
2006: Permanent CNRS researcher working at the LGBP (Laboratoire de Biophysique et Génétique des Plantes) in the science Faculty, Marseille, (France). Research activity was dedicated to enzymes of carotenoid biosynthesis. Renounced to the position, opting for a position as assistant professor at University of Padua.
2005: Post-doc (grant awarded by the French Research ministry on a research proposal) working at LBC (directed by Dr. David Pignol) at DEVM, CEA, Cadarache (France). The objective of the work was the structural characterization by X-ray crystallography of violaxanthin deepoxidase (VDE), the enzyme responsible for zeaxanthin synthesis in plants. Contract was ended early, opting for a permanent position
2002 – 2004: PhD thesis under the supervision of Prof. Bassi, working on plants photosynthetic apparatus compositions and functional regulation. The thesis was entitled: “Light Harvesting Complexes in Higher Plants: Role, Organization and Regulation”. The main subject of the work was the characterization of the antenna system of Photosystem I.
b) Publications in peer-reviewed journals
• 88 Publications in peer-review journals; 62 in the last 10 years (2008-2017)
• 28 Publications as last author (27 in last 10 years)
• 3021 citations (2715 in last 10 years)
• Average Impact Factor of publications 5.24
• h-index 35
b) Conference oral presentations
33 oral presentations in National (11) and International (22) conferences. Among these 5 invited lectures selected :
• Invited speaker at 1st European Congress on Photosynthesis Research ePS-1 (http://eps1.org/)
• Keynote lecture: “Algae genetic engineering to improve productivity in industrial cultivation” at FITEMI – 1° Italia