I graduated from the University of Pavia and IUSS (Pavia, Italy) with a Master’s degree in Genetics and Molecular Biology. After Uni, I relocated to the MRC Centre for Neurodegeneration Research (King’s College London, UK) where I obtained a PhD in Neuroscience. In the lab of Chris Miller, I studied axonal transport using cultures of rodent primary neurons as a model. While studying for my PhD, I felt that much was known about the regulation of neuronal transport in vitro (i.e. in cell culture). However, how neuronal trafficking is orchestrated in an in vivo system was largely unexplored. For my postdoctoral training, I then decided to move to the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology (Cambridge, UK) in the lab of Simon Bullock to study neuronal trafficking in the Drosophila nervous system. During my postdoc at the LMB, I developed a strong interest in neuronal ageing and I obtained an NC3Rs David Sainsbury Fellowship to pursue these studies. I was recruited to the Maurice Wohl Clinical Neuroscience Institute (King’s College London, UK) as Van Geest Fellow in Dementia and Neurodegeneration to start my independent research group studying the regulation of intracellular trafficking in ageing Drosophila and in mammalian primary neurons. I am now a Lecturer in Cellular Neuroscience.
I completed my MSci degree in Biochemistry in UCL in 2019. My Master’s project was a collaborative project between Prof Andres Ramos at the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, and Dr Yoh Isogai in the Sainsbury Wellcome Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, where I studied mRNA stabilisation and localisation mediated by the oncofetal RNA-binding protein IMP1. There, we were interested in using multiplexed smFISH techniques to better understand IMP1’s role in controlling the fates of target mRNAs. In October 2019, I started my PhD with Alessio, and I am interested in further understanding how ageing-related mitochondrial dysfunction affects intracellular trafficking and neuronal health, both in vitro and in vivo.
I graduated with an Integrated MSc (MSci) in Neuroscience from King’s College London in 2016; I conducted my BSc project in Dr Hirth’s lab (IOPPN), investigating the RAN translated Dipeptide Repeat Proteins from ALS Drosophila models containing the G4C2 hexonucleotide repeat expansion. I then joined Dr Srivastava’s lab (Maurice Wohl Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Institute) for my masters year, where I differentiated and characterized populations of IPSC derived cortical neurons. In 2017 I joined the lab of Prof Plun-Favreau at UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, where I optimised and ran high content assays on SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell lines to identify Parkinson’s Disease risk genes as modulators of PINK1-Parkin mediated mitophagy (as part of the Parkinson’s Genes Consortium – Universities of Cambridge, Reading and UCL – and in collaboration with the ARUK Drug Discovery Institute UCL). I started the PhD in Alessio’s lab in September 2019 and, in collaboration with the lab of Dr Ferraiuolo at SITraN (University of Sheffield), I have been learning fibroblast reprogramming techniques. This will allow me to study how ageing affects mitochondrial dynamics along the axon in human fibroblast-derived neurons.
In 2017, I graduated from the University of Oxford (Wadham College) with an undergraduate degree in Experimental Psychology. I then studied MSc Neuroscience at King’s College London, to broaden my understanding of the cellular and molecular levels of brain function. My MSc research project was in the lab of Dr. Sandrine Thuret, where I used induced pluripotent stem cells to investigate the effects of cellular stress on neurogenesis. Following my Masters, I worked as a Research Assistant on an academic-industrial collaboration at the Oxford Drug Discovery Institute. My role involved developing in vitro models of Parkinson’s disease for phenotypic analysis and compound screening. In October 2020, I started as an MRes-PhD student on the MRC DTP program. After completing my third rotation in Alessio’s lab, I started my PhD project investigating the link between neuronal trafficking and the maintenance of neurons during ageing.
I completed my DPhil training at Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford. I was supervised by Prof Petros Ligoxygakis and Dr Paul Elliot. We published a manuscript about how inactivating an autosomal deubiquitylase ‒ TRABID ‒ causes sex-specific neurodegeneration in Drosophila. The sex dimorphism phenotypes are underlined by sex disparity in antimicrobial peptides’ (AMPs) expressions in brains, ubiquitinome modification, proteome changes and atypical ubiquitin chains’ accumulations in heads. Further suppressing female development pathway in astrocyte and immunocompetent tissues (fat body and intestine) in TRABID-inactivated flies can partially change female-specific neurodegenerative phenotypes and AMPs expressions into male-specific patterns. I joined Dr Vagnoni’s lab in 2023 to investigate mitochondria trafficking in neurodegenerative diseases.
In 2023, I completed my MSc (by Research) in Biomedical Science at Lancaster University. My project was in the lab of Dr. Susan Broughton, where I studied the effects of reducing IIS in serotonergic neurons in Drosophila on lifespan, locomotor senescence, stress resistance, and the expression of genes (dilp2 and dilp5) and proteins (DILP5 and serotonin) in the brains of Drosophila. In October 2023, I started my PhD investigating mitochondrial organelle contact sites in ageing and neurodegenerative diseases in Alessio’s lab.
Tu ne quaesieris (scire nefas) quem mihi, quem tibi
finem di dederint, Leuconoe, nec Babylonios
temptaris numeros. Ut melius quicquid erit pati!
Seu pluris hiemes seu tribuit Iuppiter ultimam,
quae nunc oppositis debilitat pumicibus mare
Tyrrhenum, sapias, vina liques et spatio brevi
spem longam reseces. Dum loquimur, fugerit invida
aetas: carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.
Francesca Mattedi, PhD student/Research Assistant, February 2018-June 2022
Lucia Barazzuol, Visiting Research Assistant (University of Padova), August-October 2021 and Research Assistant, May 2022-February 2023
Katheryne Douglas, MSc Neuroscience (King’s College London), March 2021-September 2021
Parth Joshi, BSc Neuroscience (King’s College London), November 2020-August 2021
Sandy Richter, Post-doctoral Research Assistant, December 2019-February 2021
István Darabán, BSc Biomedical Science (King’s College London), July-September 2020
Maria Eppey, BSc Biochemistry (University of Oxford), June-August 2019
Shiron Drusinsky, BSc Human Biology (University of California Santa Cruz), August 2018
Georgia Raingold, MSc Clinical Neuroscience (King’s College London), February-July 2018