20112021

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Research interests

As an undergraduate student I received extensive training in microbiology and environmental microbiology from Prof. Federico Federici Lab (BS thesis advisor). This experience provided a strong foundation in basic laboratory techniques. Later, during my master’s degree, I was trained in spectroscopy and enzymology by Prof. Fernando Porcelli. I studied the kinetics of inhibition of pancreatic porcine amylase (PPA) by small acyclic peptides using UV-vis and fluorescence spectroscopy (publication #1 below). It was during my PhD that my interest in structural biology grew. Under Prof. Porcelli I increased my knowledge in fluorescence spectroscopy and my research focused on the biophysical and kinetical characterization of the interaction of the antimicrobial peptide Chionodracine with model membranes (publication #2 below). Towards the end of my PhD I got the opportunity to spend over a year in Prof. Gianluigi Veglia’s laboratory at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA. Prof. Veglia is internationally recognized leader in the development and application of solid and solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy to complex’s like membrane proteins and protein kinases. In his lab, I was trained not only in NMR spectroscopy, but also in several biochemical and biophysical techniques. It is during this visiting period that my interest in the biophysical and structural characterization of proteins involved in cellular signaling started. I began studying the interaction between an inhibitory peptide (PKI) and cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA). As a postdoctoral associate in Prof. Veglia’s lab, my research is focused on the interaction between PKA, PKI, and their binding partners involved in nuclear-cytoplasm transportation. My main goal with this work is to understand the dynamic and the structural changes that a signaling protein undergoes upon activation or deactivation and to elucidate the allosteric mechanism of their regulation. My academic training and research experience have provided me with an excellent background in molecular biology, thermodynamics, kinetics, biochemistry and spectroscopy. Thanks to Prof. Veglia I was also able to participate into several collaborations with other PIs within the University of Minnesota (Prof. David Bernlohr, Prof. David Thomas,) and with other Institutions (Professor Susan Taylor, University of California -San Diego; Prof, Brigitte Barry, Georgia Institute of Technology – publication #8; Prof. Marsha Rosner, University of Chicago; etc.). In these cases, I am using my expertise as NMR and fluorescence spectroscopist.

Expertise related to UN SDGs

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

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