PhD in Biochemistry and Biotechnology

At the beginning of my PhD training I studied the biochemical and biophysical characteristics of the Photosynthetic Apparatus and I improved my expertise of protein biochemistry by taking part in various projects of the group, being involved in the design of the experiments, their realisation and trouble shouting. In this period I manifested a growing interest for the recent studies concerning the harnessing of solar energy through the culturing of photosynthetic microorganisms and I was therefore given the opportunity to contribute to a new project of the group related to the production of biofuel from microalgal biomass.

Algae Fuel wikipedia

After attending a course for graduated students about next-generation sequencing my ideas were clear: I wanted to start a project of genome and transcriptome sequencing of the microalga Nannochloropsis in order to pinpoint the genes responsible for the accumulation of oil inside the cell and to open up the perspective of genetic manipulation of this microorganism.  In 2009 I started working on the sequencing of the genome and the trascriptome of the microalga Nannochloropsis gaditana in close collaboration with the group of Professor Giorgio Valle and of Doctor Tomas Morosinotto.

cover of the paperback edition of the PhD thesis

The result of my research was the complete sequence of the genome of Nannochloropsis gaditana almost at chromosome level and the profile of the gene expression of Nannochloropsis gaditana in conditions of oil accumulation compared to conditions of standard growth (no oil).

All the experiments and their results are reported in my PhD thesis.

After analysis of the genome and transcriptome of N. gaditana I described my data and my conclusion in a publication.


Moreover together with the team of Bioinformatics at CRIBI University of Padova I worked at the release of a web resource of Nannochloropsis genome and we also opened a blog to promote communication and collaboration among scientist involved in this field of investigation.

link to Nannochloropsis genome portal

During my PhD  I had an intense activity as Teaching Assistant in Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Genomics and I was also given the responsibility of tutoring some Undergraduate Students during their Graduation Projects.


My PhD was characterised by a lively curiosity, a motivational commitment and a lot of creativity. Nevertheless I think that I also managed to make some progresses toward the acquisition of the capacity to balance my curiosity with a critical evaluation of the research perspectives and I have learnt how to better focus my work. From the technical point of view I gained expertise with genomics and bioinformatics.