I work as a Postdoc in the laboratory of Prof. Kristina Broliden at the Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM). My main field of interest is human immunology, with a particular focus on mucosal immunology and viral infections.
2013 Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine - Universita Statale di Milano, Milan, Italy
2010- 2013 Pre-doctoral Visiting Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda MD, USA (Graduate Partnership Program)
My primary research objective is to identify the determinats of the early immune response to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) 1. In particular, I have been studying HIV-1 transmission and pathogenesis using human tissue explants. Infection and culture of explants provide a relevant model of viral replication as they recapitulate important features of tissues as they are in vivo and allow manipulation under controlled laboratory conditions.
I am currently developing an experimental system based on explants of female genital mucosa (FGM) to study the immunoegulatory action of seminal cytokines in HIV-1 transmission. The most immediate and evident effect of semen deposition onto the FGM is a local release of pro-inflammatory mediators, accompanied by a dramatic influx of leukocytes. We have shown that HIV-1 infection is associated with a local alteration of the cytokine network in semen. These changes may modulate the inflammatory events induced in the FGM upon coitus and thus affect the risk of HIV-1 acquisition by regulating the recruitment and activation of HIV-1 target cells therein. The identification of the determinants of HIV-1 transmission to the FGM will allow the development of more effective prevention strategies by targeting other factors in addition to the virus.