I am a DPhil student in Professor Zoltan Molnar’s Group at DPAG, under the co-supervision of Professor William James (Sir Dunn School of Pathology). I am starting my project on Developmental Neurobiology, specifically focusing on the early events occurring during mammalian cortical development.
While there is a large body of evidence for early control of patterning that is intrinsic to the neocortex, a major extrinsic source of patterning is provided by the thalamocortical afferents (TCAs) that reach to the developing cortex at very early stages, before the peak of neurogenesis and neuronal migration take place. I am investigating this complex array of external signals that regulate region-specific cortical development, and their interplay with the mechanisms intrinsic to cortical progenitors and neurons. I am particularly interested in how area-specific TCAs begin to influence corticogenesis in the germinal zones and start to influence initial circuit formation in the human fetal cerebral cortex.
Before coming to Oxford for my DPhil, I obtained a BSc in Biotechnology (University of Padua, Italy) and an MSc in Neuroscience at the University of Trieste (Italy) in collaboration with the SISSA (International School for Advanced Study). During this time, I had been exposed to a number of different approaches to neurobiology, allowing me to explore the field in a highly dynamic manner.
I moved to the UK in 2017, as a Visiting Student at the University of Cambridge (Department of Clinical Neuroscience). Here, I joined the Pluchino Lab for my MSc thesis project working on nanotechnology and stem cell therapy as a combinatorial approach to treat spinal cord injury. After graduating with Distinction (2018), I worked as Research Assistant at Imperial College London (Division of Brain Sciences), where I had the opportunity of collaborating with the Multiple Sclerosis UK Tissue Bank for my project on cellular senescence in progressive MS.
I finally moved to Oxford in 2019 to start my DPhil supported by the MRC DTP fellowship, MSGS Studentship from DPAG, and the Ramage Scholarship from Balliol College.