Msc Università di Milano
PhD University of Guelph, Canada
2023-Currently: Director of Research at IBBA CNR
2009 – 2023: Researcher at IBBA CNR
2015 – 2018: Chief Scientific Officer Fondazione Parco Tecnologico Padano – PTP Science, Lodi, Italy
2014 – 2018: Core Facilities Coordinator Parco Tecnologico Padano srl , Lodi Italy
2002 – 2014: Chief scientist Statistical Genomics and Bioinformatics – Centro Ricerche e Studi Agro-Alimentari CERSA – Segrate, Italy
2004: Visiting Professor Department of Animal Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
1996 – 1999: Research Fellow Canadian Dairy Network (CDN), Guelph, Canada.
1994: Research fellow. Associazione Nazionale Della Pastorizia (AssoNaPa)
Over the centuries, the chestnut tree, cultivated for its fruits and timber, has become an essential element of subsistence for many societies in mountain and sub-mountainous areas, revealing its potential as a multifunctional species. However, today a large part of chestnut forests is in a state of degradation and abandonment, mainly due to the depopulation of rural areas, global climate change and recent outbreaks of exotic pests. With a view to the recovery and enhancement of chestnut genetic resources, the CASTADIVA project mainly aims to:
The project is organized in 3 main activities:
1) Implementation and updating of the BioGenRes network of biobanks, with a focus on nationally/internationally recognized collections of animal, plant or microorganism species samples (animal and plant germplasm banks, microbial strain libraries of pathogenic/toxigenic organisms, nematodes, soil and water microflora and microorganisms used in agro-industry and food (e.g. microbial starters for fermentations)).
2) Replication (rejuvenation) and expansion of material stored in collections. For plant and microbial collections: multiplication of accessions for which a small amount of material is available and rejuvenation of accessions whose seed viability data are below the expected standards (> 85%). For animal collections of zootechnical interest: collection and freezing of genetic material of local breeds to complete sampling carried out in previous projects or expansion of the number of species and breeds stored in cryobanks.
3) Biochemical, molecular, metabolic, functional and phenotypic characterization of the material conserved in the biobanks of the BioGenRes network, also in order to carry out association studies and to identify markers associated with traits linked to production and/or adaptation to biotic and abiotic stress factors.
The CASTANEVAL project intends to respond to the need for scientific knowledge on Lombardy chestnut genetic resources in order to provide tools for the leverage and conservation of native germplasm and to undertake actions for the management recovery of chestnut groves. The pilot study areas are the chestnut groves in the municipality of Serle (BS) and in the Varese Pre-Alps (VA) The CASTANEVAL project aims also to develop a chestnut micropropagation system in order to offer a concrete, sustainable and economical tool for the conservation and multiplication of native germplasm of high local interest. The project will also study the ecological context and the degree of naturalness of the stands, from wild to coppice and cultivated varieties. A complete characterisation of the chestnut genetic resources in the areas under consideration will result from the integration of genetic, morphological, ecological and production data.
Sheep-TreeSeq will perform scalable analysis of genomic diversity of sheep global populations using the novel tree sequence data format and methodology.
Technological advances in agritech have increased the availability of genomic data, leading to massive datasets (“big data”) which pose challenges for storage, processing and analysis, e.g. the sheer volume of the data, the rapid generation of new data (updating results, expanding training populations, streaming applications), and the heterogeneity of data sources (integration of data from multiple sequencing and genotyping platforms). The tree sequence algorithm offers an excellent way to address such challenges, by providing lossless compression and novel representation of the data. As an example, using tree sequences on the 1000 Bull Genome Project data a 90% lossless compression was obtained, reducing the data size from ~800 GB to 45 GB. For the Sheep TreeSeq project we will use around 3,500 sheep whole genome sequences and over 50,000 genotypes (~10 TB of data).
Our plan is to apply the tree sequence approach to compress the data and obtain a data representation highly suited for population genetics and demographic analysis: (i) principal component and genealogical nearest neighbour clustering; (ii) fixation index measuring genetic differentiation; (iii) deep neural network based clustering methods; iv) detection of runs of homozygosity (ROH) and heterozygosity-rich regions (HRR).
This is the first time that this approach is applied to sheep genomics.
The COVES project will develop and validate a simplified sampling and analysis procedure on a portable device for the specific and sensitive detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the environment. This procedure will ensure greater safety in the work areas, thus reducing the negative impact that the COVID-19 emergency has on the local and national economy and decreasing the gap between the information and the suggested solutions. The main result of the project will be the development of a method for the rapid analysis of the SARS-CoV-2 in the environment, suitable for a field-use also by non-expert users. The project involves Hyris Ltd, leader of the project, which develops the technology, IBBA CNR which will take charge of the method validations and IZSLER (section of Pavia) which will validate “in-situ” the efficacy of this method on various contaminated surfaces using SARS-CoV-2 positive samples with known concentration.
The project FARM-INN aims to provide farm-level interventions supporting dairy industry enhancing safety and quality of milk and cheese and providing the necessary scientific evidence and new insight regarding their functional properties. The proposed actions will be carried out assessing and improving animal welfare and the environmental sustainability. In particular, two aspects will be tackled and studied in the proposed project: i) the development and use of new feed supplements adsorbing mycotoxins and reducing pathogenic and spoilage clostridia in milk ii) the characterization of cheese making and functional properties of A1 and A2 variants of beta-casein in milk. The evaluation of environmental sustainability of the adsorbent supplementations to the cow rations and the potential effect of cheese making using A1 and A2 beta-casein types in milk analyses through a Life Cycle Assessment approach will be performed.
The project will offer opportunities to the dairy farmers to strengthen their competitiveness, in the context of a better control of safety and quality issues, and will help dairy industry in placing on the market high-quality products adapted to the new expectations of consumers.
sPATIALS3 is a technological and research hub involving 12 CNR Institutes belonging to 4 different Departments and 4 companies. Main objectives will be: obtainment of innovative food products improved for their nutritional and functional properties; provision and implementation of precision technologies to guarantee products quality, safety and traceability; development of innovative and eco-sustainable smart– and active-packaging to minimize and reuse wastes, where possible, and to increase food preservability; provision to consumers and producers of tools for results exploitation.