I moved my first steps in neuroscience during my doctorate in Luigi Cervetto, Claudia Gargini and Lorenzo Cangiano’s lab at the University of Pisa, where I investigated different aspects of vertebrate photoreceptor function. In particular I pioneered single cells recordings from mouse cone photoreceptors, characterising the functional relevance of electrical coupling between rods and cones in the mouse retina. I also examined evolutionary aspects of vision by constraining the timing with which an ancestral cone evolved into the rod photoreceptor, thereby conferring dim light vision to early vertebrates. This involved performing among the first patch clamp recordings from the lamprey retina.
During my postdoc in Roger Hardie’s lab at the University of Cambridge I worked on invertebrate phototransduction, exploring some of the reasons behind the exceptional performance of Drosophila photoreceptors. In particular I investigated the molecular mechanisms underpinning calcium modulation of TRP and TRPL channels by using single cell recordings and fluorescence techniques.
Now in Italy I switched back to working on mouse, although I am still collaborating with my former lab on drosophila. Currently my main project is “Cone dystrophies and retinal degeneration from protein structures to biological networks. Toward the design of therapeutic molecules” funded by the Telethon Foundation, in collaboration with Prof. Lorenzo Cangiano (Pisa) and Dr. Mario Milani (CNR Milano) and I am dividing my time between Pisa e Verona.