I graduated from the University of Genoa, Italy,
with a laurea in Biological Sciences (1999). I then specialised in
biophysics at the National Research Council in Genoa and went on to earn
a PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Bath (2004). I held a
post-doctoral fellowship in physiology at Oxford (2004-2008), under the
mentorship of Professor Frances Ashcroft, while I was also a Junior
Research Fellow at Wolfson College. In 2008, I was appointed as a
Research Council (RCUK) Fellow to set up an independent lab at the
University of Manchester. I returned to Oxford in 2012 as an Associate
Professor in Pharmacology and a Fellow at Queen’s.
I teach undergraduate students at all stages of preclinical medicine
and biomedical sciences. My teaching focuses especially on systems and
molecular physiology, pharmacology and biophysics. I also teach as part
of the MSc course in pharmacology, and I typically supervise three DPhil
students in my lab.
The focus of my research is on vascular ion channels, proteins that form microscopic gated pores and thus allow ions to move into and out of cells. In so doing, ion channels give rise to electrical impulses that trigger and control a vast array of fundamental biological processes. Specifically, the cells forming the wall of arteries possess channels that generate signals determining the artery diameter; this ultimately contributes to the control of blood pressure. We aim to understand the way these channels open and close and how alterations in these important proteins may lead to human disease. We also work to identify new ion channel-interacting drugs, which could modulate blood vessel function for therapeutic benefit. To achieve these aims the lab takes a multidisciplinary approach involving studies at the level of molecules, cells, tissues and the whole organism, using a combination of experimental and theoretical methodologies.