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Philippos Papathanos - phi
Phi did his PhD at Imperial College London in the lab of Andrea Crisanti. During his PhD, Phi demonstrated that engineered nucleases can be used as genetic drive elements and synthetic sex-ratio distorters to control natural populations of malaria transmitting mosquitoes. For his post-doc, Phi got an EMBO outgoing fellowship and moved to sunny California at Caltech to work under the supervision of Bruce Hay. At Caltech he tested whether alternative gene drive systems can be developed using engineered toxin-antidote systems with the idea of replacing natural population with disease-resistant ones. After 2 years in California, Phi moved to Perugia Italy with a Marie Curie fellowship. At the University of Perugia, his research interests were broadened and Phi decided to teach himself computational genomics and chose as a subject mosquito Y chromosomes - which until then remained black boxes. In 2014 Phi accepted a Rita Levi Moltancini carreer developmet award and established his own lab. He continues to follow his interests to develop synthetic elements for controlling insects - broadening his focus beyond just malaria mosquitoes - and to improve our methods, tools and ultimately understanding of insect biology.





Postdoctoral Fellows


Rocco D'Amato
PhD University of Naples
BSc University of Naples
Rocco is a postdoc interested on engineering invasive Y chromosomes for the control of Anopheles gambiae, the principal vector of malaria in sub-saharan Africa. His previous work has contributed towards an improved understanding of the sex determination cascade of the medfly and the Aedes aegypti, the mosquito vector of dengue and zika. He is the king of the injection room, when he is not occupied with Neapolitan football and mozzarella.





PhD Students


Alessia Cagnetti
BSc in Biology, University of Camerino
PhD Program University of Perugia 2013-2016
Alessia's PhD work is focused on characterizing the content and function of Y chromosomes of An. gambiae. She discovered an array of genes on the telomere of the Y that likely have function in male fertility and spermatogenesis. She is building on this knowledge to beat Rocco in the building of invasive Y chromosomes, expressing a nuclease that shreds the X chromosome. She is the group whip and our fountain of logic .






Francesco Papa
BSc Pharmacology, University of Perugia 2014
PhD Program University of Perugia 2014-2017
Francesco graduated in pharmacology in 2014 with a one year experimental thesis in medicinal chemistry entitled “Design and synthesis of dibenzothiazine 5,5-dioxide derivatives as novel anti-prion agents”. After his thesis he decided to broaden his biological knowledge and got accepted for a PhD program in “Systems biology in Immunity and infectious disease”. He his now interested in the use of computational biology and genomics to understand the evolutionary forces driving adaptation and vectorial capacity of malaria mosquitoes. He is our first homegrown bioinformatics guru.





Research Assistants and everyday Heroes


Tania Persampieri
BSc in Biology, University of ...
Tania oversees the running of our crazy insectary and is the queen of the COPAS fluorescent larval sorter. Tania's main focus is assessing the suitability of transgenic strains we develop for population control. To do this she oversees experiments in our 6 large cages.






Toti di Martino
Toti ....







Alessandro Bucci
Alessandro ....